Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act all cases of Lyme disease are required to be reported to Public Health; including clinically diagnosed cases. To report a case of Lyme disease to the Grey Bruce Health Unit, please call the Infectious Disease Program at 519-376-9420 ext. 6.
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdoferi. The bacteria can be transmitted (passed on) to a person through the bite of a blacklegged tick that is carrying the bacteria. Infection does not always occur with a tick bite. An infected tick usually needs to be attached for 24-36 hours; this is the amount of time needed for the bacteria to be transmitted through a bite. The Grey Bruce Health Unit follows-up with persons in Grey and Bruce counties that are diagnosed with Lyme disease.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit operates a tick surveillance program. The tick surveillance program provides tick identification and testing for applicable ticks (e.g., black legged ticks). The public can submit ticks to their health care providers or health units. Tick submission information can be found here.
Protection and Prevention
The best way to protect against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Health Canada provides some important ways you can protect yourself. See Health Canada’s Prevention of Lyme disease page for further information.
Removing a Tick
Ticks can be found anywhere on your body. If you find a tick attached to you, ensure that the tick is completely removed as soon as possible. Be careful not to crush or twist the tick during removal, this helps to ensure the entire tick is removed. See Health Canada’s Removing and Submitting Ticks for testing page for further information on tick removal.
Follow-up with your health care provider as soon as possible:
- If the tick was attached for more than 24-36 hours
- The tick cannot be removed because it has buried itself deep into your skin, or the tick broke when removing it and there are parts left inside the bite area
- If you are not comfortable with removing a tick
Submitting ticks for identification and testing is for surveillance purposes only. The testing of ticks is a lengthy process and is not intended to guide diagnosis.
Signs and Symptoms
After being bitten by an infected tick, it can take approximately three to 32 days to develop signs and symptoms of early localized Lyme disease (the early stages of Lyme disease). Early signs and symptoms may include a red rash, often called a “bull’s eye” rash (erythema migrans) at the site of the tick bite, fever, chills, fatigue, joint pain, neck stiffness and/or swollen lymph nodes. Early stages of Lyme disease may not always be obvious and people can present with later signs of Lyme disease. Diagnosis of Lyme disease is primarily based on clinical symptoms and risk factors as assessed by physicians.
- Health Canada - Lyme disease
- E-Tick is an electronic tick identification platform where a picture of a tick can be submitted, and species identification results are received in approximately 48 hours. This is an identification platform only and not a tick testing program that was launched by Bishop’s University, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Public Health Ontario, and researchers from the University of Ottawa and the University of Guelph. The Grey Bruce Health Unit does not receive information submitted to this website. This website may assist with visualizing where black legged ticks are located from information submitted by the public. E-Tick can be accessed here.
- Public Health Ontario’s Ontario Lyme Disease Estimated Risk Areas Map provides information on estimated risk areas when considering potential exposures or tick bites. “Despite these estimated risk areas, it is important to note that blacklegged ticks feed on and are transported by migratory birds, meaning there is a possibility of encountering an infective blacklegged tick almost anywhere in Ontario”.