Friday, May 27, 2022

As the weather warms, London-area health units issue reminders about the risks of Lyme disease – London | Nation World News

With increasing heat in the region comes reminders from local and provincial health officials about the risks of ticks and Lyme disease.

Public Health Ontario released an update to its Lyme disease risk map on Thursday, detailing where the blacklegged tick population and estimated risk areas for Lyme disease are in Ontario.

In southwestern Ontario, the at-risk areas remained unchanged from the agency’s 2021 map, except for Elgin County and the southwestern edge of Middlesex County.

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“This year, there is a new risk area in Elgin County, it is in Malahide Township. We wanted to mark it as a newly identified risk area for 2022,” said Jessica Fiddy, public health inspector with Southwestern Public Health Said, the health unit that covers Elgin and Oxford counties.

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The updated map shows areas of central Elgin, including St. Thomas, which is now considered a projected risk area for Lyme disease as a result of the malahide addition.

“When we do tick dragging – location – they will extend it to a radius of 20 kilometers from that dragging location. So it looks like it has grown quite a bit,” Fiddy said of the map, which uses data from last year. gives reference.

“We had a risk zone identified in Behm a few years ago, so that is probably why it seems to be such a large area. But it was 20 kilometers that was added this year.”

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Lambton Public Health issued a similar notice to the public on Thursday, saying local health officials had identified 20 kilometers of surrounding areas, including Pinery Provincial Park and Port Franks, as high-risk areas for Lyme disease.

The higher risk, he said, was due to an increase in the blacklegged tick population, and the number of positive ticks. borrelia burgdorferikThe bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

Lyme disease estimated risk map of southwestern Ontario, 2021 and 2022. The map has been edited to link Aylmer and St Thomas. Gray lines indicate health unit boundaries.

Public Health Ontario

Bacteria by Health Unit borrelia burgdorferik It is spread by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick. According to Health Canada, an infected tick needs to be attached for at least 24 hours for the bacteria to be transmitted.

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A common early symptom of Lyme disease is a skin rash that spreads from the bite site. Health Canada says other early symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, headache, swollen lymph nodes and muscle and joint pain. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications.

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“When people are walking through wooded areas or areas where ticks can be found, there are chances that they may be exposed to ticks. They don’t jump or fly, but they can brush up on you as you’re walking,” Fiddy said.

Health officials advise residents to wear a light-colored, long-sleeved shirt and pants, both tucked in, when visiting areas where ticks may be present. Closed-toe shoes are also recommended, along with insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin.

“If they do find a tick… we always encourage a tick check when they come from these wooded areas where you are showering, towel off to remove any loose ticks, and then Afterwards check yourself for ticks,” Fiddy said. ,

“And then if you do find a tick, remove it immediately, bring it to the health unit and we can identify it … It’s very important to know what type of tick you have.”

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According to Public Health Ontario, there were 834 cases of Lyme disease in the province in 2020, five in Elgin-Oxford, two in London-Middlesex and two in Lambton County. Twenty-seven hospitalizations were reported province-wide.

The 2020 figures saw a decrease compared to 2019, when 1,182 cases and 37 hospitalizations were reported across the province, with Elgin-Oxford reporting six cases, London-Middlesex eight and Lambton two.

Provincial data show a steady increase in Lyme disease cases over the past decade, from 137 across the province in 2011 to 451 in 2015 and 1,038 in 2017. The cases fell to 645 in 2018 before rising in 2019.

According to Public Health Ontario, the 2017 increase was largely attributed to three Eastern Ontario health units that saw high rates of expansion in blacklegged tick populations.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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