Until recently, Lyme disease was fairly rare in Canada. However, in the past few years, it has been on the rise and it now affects more and more Canadians all across the country.
Lyme disease is caused by a small bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, carried and transmitted to humans or animals through the bite of certain species of infected ticks that are active in warm weather. These ticks are found mainly in wooded areas, forests and tall grass. Ticks can be very small, and their bites aren’t usually painful, so they often go unnoticed. However, in about 60 to 80% of cases, redness at the bite site appears and sometimes it is accompanied by symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache and neck stiffness. If the disease is not treated, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease can spread through the body over subsequent months and lead to serious damage, particularly to the heart, joints and brain. Thus, the best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid the bite of ticks. Wear long clothing to cover skin and choose light colors fabrics to quickly identify the tick, which is usually dark. Applying a good insect repellent, taking a good shower and a carefully checking your skin after outdoor activities in endemic areas are also essential. To learn more about ticks and Lyme disease, talk to your healthcare professional!