Lyme disease is a bacterium that is often carried by mice and other small rodents. The disease can be transmitted to humans if they are bitten by a tick that has previously fed off an infected animal.
Different types of ticks live in Canada and while some can transmit diseases, others are only a nuisance. In general, infected black-legged ticks can transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
Symptoms of Lyme disease typically develop within two weeks of a tick bite and can include fevers, chills, swollen lymph nodes, neck stiffness, fatigue, headaches, and joint or muscle aches.
To avoid contracting Lyme disease, do the following:
- Wear light-coloured clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and pants when in wooded areas. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and keep long hair tied back.
- Wash your body and clothing after all outdoor activities.
- Look periodically for ticks if you have been outdoors, especially if you have been in wooded areas or gardens.
- Remove ticks within 24 hours to greatly reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease.
- Check your pet's coat if it has been in a known area for ticks.
Remember to consult your healthcare provider as soon as you experience Lyme disease symptoms. If possible, send any ticks that you have removed to a public health laboratory in your area. Click here to learn more.