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Tick with Lyme disease found

The city has its first ever confirmation of a deer tick carrying Lyme disease.
The city has its first ever confirmation of a deer tick carrying Lyme disease.

Thunder Bay District Health Unit officials on Thursday announced that a tick found on a dog within city limits tested positive for the serious inflammatory illness that attacks the body’s central nervous and cardiovascular systems and joints.

The health unit has been testing and monitoring deer ticks since 2005. Health officials say a warm spring has contributed to the early arrival of the bugs, which are dependant on the white-tail deer for reproduction.

"The public has been very helpful and we are seeing almost daily tick submissions," said Henry Kurban, the health unit’s medical officer of health. "With an increase in both the number of ticks submitted and phone calls from the public, it appears we are in for a busy season."

The health unit’s bio-consultant, Ken Deacon, identifies all ticks submitted by the public, and then sends them for laboratory testing.

Ticks can be dropped off in a sealed container at the health unit’s Balmoral Street office, or at any branch office in the district.

Health officials said there are ways to reduce the risk of coming into contact with Lyme Disease, including avoiding areas with tall grass, wearing light-coloured clothing to make it easier to see ticks and tucking pants into socks and wearing long sleeves.

Other modes of prevention include regular checks for ticks – including pets – and the use of repellents with DEET.

Should a tick be found, the best way to remove it is to use a pair of tweezers to grab the head of the insect as close to the skin as possible, then firmly, but gently pull it straight up and out of the skin. Don’t squeeze the body, or try to burn or smother it.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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