Over the last few years, Health Canada has ramped up their efforts to inform the public about the ever-increasing population of ticks across the country. Every summer, the number of confirmed Lyme disease cases from tick bites grows significantly. According to new reports, kids and youth in Ontario and Nova Scotia are the most vulnerable.
In a study by the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program, reported by CTV News, 81% of Lyme disease cases involving kids and youth over a three-year period were in these two provinces alone.
The study involved 96 cases from June 2014 to 2017, all involving kids under the age of 16. The scariest findings from the study were that over half of all the cases weren't caught until severe symptoms, like muscle aches and arthritis, were already starting to surface.
Symptoms from tick bites typically take a week to kick in. The most common ones include redness, fever, chills and muscle pain. If bitten on the head or neck, there's also a risk of becoming temporary paralyzed, which is what happened to one girl last month.
Just this morning, we told you about the high population of ticks in Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods Park. Health Canada said that ticks can be found "almost anywhere in Ontario," and have crawled their way into Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Manitoba.
In all of Canada, Ontario has the highest number of Lyme disease cases, with 997 reported cases last year alone.
A Canadian pediatric professor told CTV News that the number of Lyme disease cases "does seem to be creeping up in frequency. That tells me that we need to be sure that clinicians know how to recognize Lyme disease and that the general public knows how to prevent it where possible," she says.
The Government of Canada's website has an entire resource for tick bite prevention, with helpful tips and measures that you can take to keep yourself protected.
Source: CTV News