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Region of York issues lyme disease alert

Lyme motion to be presented at Queen’s Park Thursday
Nov. 26, 2014
By Chris Traber

York Region’s public health unit issued a Lyme disease advisory this week, joining Toronto and Durham stating evidence has been found that blacklegged ticks are in the Rouge Valley and some insects tested positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

This comes as lyme disease advocates expect a motion to be presented in Ontario’s Legislature Thursday, asking the province to develop a comprehensive strategy and action plan to combat lyme disease.

A representative of the Ontario Lyme Alliance told York Region Media the motion is to be introduced by NDP MPP Mike Mantha. Members such as Linda Kelso of the York North Lyme Support Group, which meets in York Region, will be at Queen’s Park tomorrow.

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, fatigue and red bull’s eye rash. Those infected have serious health issues, some have had to stop work and are debilitated.

Blacklegged ticks are the only type of ticks in Ontario that can carry Lyme disease.

While blacklegged ticks are most likely to infect people during the summer, says the Region of York, and the risk of Lyme disease is low in this area, you can reduce the risk of getting bitten by taking precautions when in brushy or wooded areas where ticks may be found.

Prompt removal of ticks from the skin will help prevent possible infection, as transmission of the Lyme disease-causing bacteria requires the tick to be attached for at least 24 hours.

Ticks removed can be submitted to the local public health unit for identification and further testing.

Early symptoms of Lyme disease usually occur within one to two weeks, but can occur as long as a month after a tick bite. Detected early, Lyme disease can treated with antibiotics.Anyone who develops these symptoms after being bitten by a tick should see their health care provider.

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