Vett Lloyd, a researcher and director of the Lloyd Tick Lab at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, says that as the impacts of climate change progress, each tick season will likely be worse than the last.
“As the winters are getting milder and shorter, the ticks are surviving better, and they have more time to feed and have a tick romance,” Lloyd said in a recent interview Friday. “Once a female tick finds a male and food, she can produce for roughly 3,000 eggs. When this starts happening, (the population) explodes very quickly.”
Nova Scotia has the highest ratio of ticks to people in Canada, Lloyd said, and is second to Ontario in the total number of reported ticks. But the insects can be found across Canada.
People will notice ticks, maybe on their pets or in their hair, after spending time outside near long grass. They’re active in late April through June, and then they typically rest through the hottest months, Lloyd said. Tick presence then peaks in late September through to November.
The tiny bug is a concern because it spreads Lyme disease, which is harmful to humans and pets. Not all ticks carry the Lyme disease bacteria, but black-legged deer ticks are most likely to be infected, Lloyd said.
Cases of the tick-borne disease increased in Canada by 150 per cent between 2020 and 2021, with almost 2,900 cases reported to the federal government last year. The report notes that its tally of Lyme cases may still be low, “because some cases are undetected or unreported.”
The most common sign of Lyme disease is an expanding skin rash that typically begins at the site of the tick bite. Other early symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue and headache. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system..
Justin Wood, CEO of Ontario-based tick-testing organization Geneticks, said tick activity keeps rising. “I think everybody will say they’re seeing more ticks each year,” Wood said in an interview Tuesday. Geneticks’ lab has received more than 400 ticks to test in the last six weeks, he said. About 1,600 ticks were sent to the lab throughout the 2021 tick season.
Lloyd agreed: “It’s a bad year for ticks,” she said.
Ticks can reproduce locally, and new populations of ticks are introduced on migratory animals, typically by hitching rides on birds, Lloyd said. Ticks also travel and spread locally on mammals such as deer or mice.
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association says on its website that ticks are expanding their range in parts of Canada at a rate of about 46 kilometres per year.
In Ontario, a 2019 University of Ottawa study found that one-third of black-legged ticks in the Ottawa region were carrying Lyme disease.
Manisha Kulkarni, an associate professor with the University of Ottawa who studies ticks and tick-borne illness, said in an interview that over the last five to 10 years, researchers have noticed “a big northward expansion” of black-legged ticks in the Ottawa region.
“Ticks are being detected in more and more locations around the city of Ottawa and closer to areas where people are living, so there’s also more chance of people coming into contact with them,”
she said Tuesday. The City of Ottawa reported 180 cases of Lyme disease in 2019, 120 in 2020 and 290 in 2021.
The northward expansion of ticks is also seen in Quebec. McGill University associate biology professor Virginie Millien says the movement of ticks means they can now be found in suburban areas in the southern part of the province where they were not living even five years ago.
About 10 years ago, there were a few locations in Quebec where researchers would find established tick populations, she said, all on the south side of the St. Lawrence River.
“Now they have crossed the river, and the warmer it gets and with more humidity ? the conditions are perfect for ticks,” Millien said Monday. “In southern Quebec, they’re now pretty much everywhere. Including in my backyard.”
Ticked off: Tick numbers on the rise
In Nova Scotia, ticks can be anywhere, but they are most populous in the South Shore and Annapolis Valley regions. They are also frequently found in Halifax and the surrounding areas. Researchers collecting and sampling black-legged ticks found that in Nova Scotia, 30 to 50 per cent of them carry Lyme disease.
In order to keep Lyme disease manageable for Canadians who may be infected, Lloyd would like to see ramped-up Lyme disease testing offered in the health system. Early detection and treatment can dramatically improve disease outcome, she said.
Health officials also advise people be diligent when spending time outdoors, which means wearing long pants tucked into socks, using insect repellent and thoroughly checking for ticks after returning home.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2022.
© 2022 The Canadian Press
Peel Region reports its first confirmed case of monkeypox – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Peel Region has its first confirmed case of monkeypox.
According to Peel Public Health, the person infected is an adult male in his 30s who lives in Mississauga.
The heath unit said the risk to the public remains low.
Monkeypox, which comes from the same virus family as smallpox, spreads though close contact with an infected individual. Most transmission happens through close contact with the skin lesions of monkeypox, but the virus can also be spread by large droplets or by sharing contaminated items.
To reduce risk of infection, people are advised to be cautious when engaging in intimate activities with others. Vaccination is available for high-risk contacts of cases and for those deemed at high risk of exposure to monkeypox.
Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash/lesions, which could appear on the face or genitals and then spread to other areas.
Anyone who develops these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and avoid close contact with others until they have improved and rash/lesions have healed.
While most people recover on their own without treatment, those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox should self-monitor for symptoms, and contact PPH to see if they are eligible for vaccination.
The Mississauga case is at least the 34th confirmed case of the disease in Ontario, with dozens more under investigation.
Monkeypox case count rises to more than 3400 globally, WHO says – The Globe and Mail
More than 3,400 confirmed monkeypox cases and one death were reported to the World Health Organization as of last Wednesday, with a majority of them from Europe, the agency said in an update on Monday.
WHO said that since June 17, 1,310 new cases were reported to the agency, with eight new countries reporting monkeypox cases.
Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, WHO ruled last week, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.
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Sudbury news: Northern agencies highlight national HIV testing day | CTV News – CTV News Northern Ontario
Monday was national HIV testing day. Officials say this year’s theme surrounds how getting tested is an act of self-care.
From clinics to self-testing kits, groups in the north say there are many options to get tested and everyone should use whichever way works best for them.
Just more than a year ago, Reseau Access Network in Sudbury teamed with Ready to Know and Get a Kit, groups that provide HIV self-testing kits at a pickup location.
Officials said it has been a huge success.
“We get a consistent number throughout each month and I can’t really divulge those figures, unfortunately, but as part of the overall study I can tell you the pickup of self-tests is a fraction of the amount of tests being ordered,” said Angel Riess, of Reseau Access Network.
“There’s actually a lot of tests being shipped to homes directly but I can confirm that they have been active and there’s a significant number of people who have chosen to engage in both programs.”
Elsewhere, the Aids Committee of North Bay and Area held a point-of-care testing clinic to mark the day.
“It’s an opportunity for us to remind everyone that getting tested is essential. If you don’t know you have HIV, you can’t take the steps to try to mitigate the possibility of spread,” said executive director Stacey Mayhall.
In addition to stopping the spread, knowing whether you are positive sooner rather than later can allow for a better quality of life.
“HIV is not a death sentence that it used to be,” said Riess.
“There have been advances in testing and medication and people can live long, healthy lives living with HIV.”
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