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Lyme disease risk area expands

Province updates risk map with new and expanded areas

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Lyme disease: Manitoba Health

Bull's eye: health officials take aim at Lyme disease in Manitoba

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Friday, September 25, 2015

Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors advises the geographic range of blacklegged ticks continues to expand northward and westward in the province.

The annual blacklegged tick surveillance program has identified a number of new and expanded Lyme disease risk areas, and the risk of tick-borne disease transmission is greatest in these areas.

Blacklegged ticks found within the risk areas are more likely to carry the agents that cause tick-borne diseases such as Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis and Lyme disease.  While blacklegged ticks can be found outside of these Lyme disease risk areas, the risk of tick-borne disease transmission is lower.

In Lyme disease risk areas and elsewhere, blacklegged ticks are most commonly found within and along the edge of forests and in areas with thick, woody shrubs and other vegetation.

Limiting exposure to potentially infected blacklegged ticks is the key to tick-borne disease prevention. Manitobans are encouraged to take precautions to minimize their risk of tick exposure by:

  • applying an appropriate tick-repellent, following label directions, on exposed skin and clothing;
  • inspecting themselves, children and pets after spending time outdoors;
  • removing ticks as soon as possible from people and pets;
  • staying to the centre of walking trails;
  • wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts; and
  • keeping grass and shrubs around homes cut short to create drier environments that are less suitable for blacklegged tick survival.

Symptoms of Anaplasmosis can start seven to 10 days after a tick bite and may include fever, chills, headache, joint aches, nausea and vomiting, often in association with blood abnormalities and/or liver abnormalities.  Anaplasmosis can be successfully treated with antibiotics.

Symptoms of Babesiosis can start one to six weeks after a tick bite and may include non-specific flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea or fatigue.  Babesiosis can be successfully treated with antibiotics.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can start about three days to one month after a tick bite, often with an expanding rash which then fades.  Early symptoms can also include headache, stiff neck, muscle aches or fatigue, fever, chills and swollen lymph nodes.  Lyme disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics and treatment is most successful in the early stages of infection.

To date, 11 confirmed and probable cases have been reported in 2015.

People who think they may have a tick-borne disease should see their doctor.  For more information, they may also contact Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or (toll-free) 1 888 315-9257.

For more information about Lyme disease, including the updated map showing the new and expanded Lyme disease risk areas, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/lyme.html.

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