Montreal's West Island is at high risk for Lyme disease infections, public health warns

·1 min read
Deer ticks are smaller than the common brown dog tick and can be vectors for Lyme Disease.  (Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via The Associated Press - image credit)
Deer ticks are smaller than the common brown dog tick and can be vectors for Lyme Disease. (Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via The Associated Press - image credit)

Ticks carrying Lyme disease have spread to the West Island of Montreal, putting residents at high risk of exposure, Quebec's public health institute said in a news release Tuesday.

Based on the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ)'s epidemiological data from 2019, most infections occurred in the Estrie and Montérégie regions. In 2020, public health received 114 reports of Lyme disease cases in the province.

While the situation in Montreal isn't as dire, the INSPQ said there is a risk of contracting the disease on the island and that Lyme disease is now endemic to the West Island.

If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to long-term health problems. Symptoms include fever, rashes, headaches and fatigue.

Here are some suggestions for how to avoid ticks.

  • Ticks like warm, sunny days so go out when it's colder if you really want to avoid them.

  • Early mornings are also a good time to avoid ticks as they like the sunnier parts of the day.

  • Some areas are "tickier" than others, so try to avoid them when you take note.

  • Wearing long sleeves, long pants, or covered clothing will help you see the tick and get it off you before it attaches.

  • Frequent tick checks. It's suggested that you closely inspect yourself, your kids and your pets after six hours to get the ticks off.

  • Repellents with DEET are also a good idea.

To report a case of Lyme disease, you can call public health at 514-528-2400 or fill out and fax this form to a confidential line 514-528-2461.

If you are not sure what kind of tick you are dealing with, you can use the etick app to identify and log it.

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