Since April, three black-legged ticks found in the North Bay Parry Sound District have tested positive for the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease.

That’s according to the local health unit which says two of the ticks were from the North Bay area, and one was from the Parry Sound area.

So far this year, officials say a total of 37 ticks have been submitted for identification, of which 19 have been identified as black-legged ticks, also called deer ticks. 

Although the number of ticks testing positive for the bacteria is seemingly low, the Health Unit reminds the public to exercise caution when outdoors.

A few methods to prevent tick bites include using bug spray or other insect repellants that contain DEET or Icaridin, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, tucking your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks as well as wearing light-coloured clothing to spot ticks more easily. 

In addition, search your clothes and body for ticks at least once a day, paying special attention to areas such as the groin, navel, armpits, scalp, behind ears and knees, don’t forget to tick check children in your care, try to stay on cleared paths when possible, as ticks are more commonly found in wooded areas, or in tall grasses, bushes and shrubs and finally take a shower as soon as you can after being outdoors.

And if you find one on your body, remove it carefully with tweezers by grasping the tick by the head as close to the skin as possible. 

If parts of the tick’s mouth break off and remain in the skin, remove them with tweezers and if you can’t remove the mouthparts, leave them alone and let the skin heal. 

Collect the tick, and make note of where you believe to have encountered it and see your healthcare provider right away, and when possible, bring the tick to the Health Unit.

Quick Facts

  • There was one confirmed case of Lyme disease reported between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, for residents of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit area.
  • Black-legged ticks are not common in the area; however, ticks can travel on birds and deer.
  • Black-legged ticks can carry Lyme disease. Ticks are small blood-sucking insects that cannot fly. They live in wooded or brushy areas and attach themselves to passing animals or people. While most ticks do not carry diseases, it’s important to avoid them and check for and remove them as soon as you find them.
  • A person can become infected with Lyme disease if they are bitten by an infected tick.
  • In most cases, the tick must usually be attached for at least 24 hours for the bacterium that causes Lyme disease to be passed on to the host.
  • The most common symptom of Lyme disease is an expanding skin rash, which can appear between three and 30 days after a bite.
  • If left untreated, other symptoms may develop including fever, chills, headache, fatigue muscle and joint aches, problems with your heartbeat, breathing, balance and short-term memory.
  • The earlier the treatment is received the better.
  • There has been an increase in confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Ontario, partly due to an increased expansion of black-legged tick populations to new areas of the province.
  • Infected ticks are continuing to spread and can now also be found in the Simcoe-Muskoka district, York Region and all of Eastern Ontario as well as Hamilton and parts of Northwestern Ontario. For more information, including the Lyme disease risk area map, Click here