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 transmitted through the bite of a blacklegged tick infected with Borrelia burgdoferi (b. burgdoferi), the Lyme disease carrying bacteria. Infection does not (usually) occur until an infected tick has been attached (imbedded) for at least 24-36 hours, this is the amount of time required for the bacteria to transmitted through a bite (appendix A). The Grey Bruce Health Unit follows-up with persons in the Grey and Bruce Counties that are diagnosed with Lyme disease.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit operates a tick surveillance program to monitor trends in Lyme disease vector prevalence and thereby potential risks associated with locally acquired disease. Health Care Practitioners and the public can submit ticks for identification and testing that are removed from humans. Tick submission information can be located here https://www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/Your-Environment/Vector-borne-Diseases/Ticks
Protection and Prevention
The best way to protect against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Health Canada provides some ways you can protect yourself and your home here https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/lyme-disease/prevention-lyme-disease.html
Removing a Tick
If you are bitten by a tick, ensure that the tick is completely removed promptly. Make sure that you do not crush or damage the tick during removal because this could cause the Lyme bacteria to pass from the tick to your bloodstream. Learn how to remove a tick from your body with these steps https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/lyme-disease/removing-submitting-ticks-testing.html
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. Early signs and symptoms may include erythema migrans (EM or “bull’s eye” rash) at the site of a recent tick bite, fever, malaise (changed?), headache, myalgia (change?), neck stiffness, fatigue, lymphadenopathy (change?) and arthralgia (change?)….Early stages of the illness may not be apparent and people may present with later manifestations. Diagnosis of Lyme disease is primarily based on clinical symptoms and risk factors as assessed by physicians.
- 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 GBHU 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 located at https://www.etick.ca/
- Public Health Ontario’s Ontario Lyme Disease Estimated Risk Areas Map 2019 provides information on estimated risk areas when considering potential exposures or tick bites. This map can be located at https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/lyme-disease-risk-area-map-2019.pdf?la=en “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”.