The Regional Municipality Of York

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Blacklegged ticks found in York Region



Newmarket – The Regional Municipality of York confirms blacklegged ticks were found in the vicinity of the York Regional Forest North Tract located in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, as well as the Boyd Conservation Area and Kortright Conservation Area located in the City of Vaughan.

The ticks were identified during fall active tick surveillance and will be sent to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg to determine if they carry the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that can cause Lyme disease.

“York Region Public Health reminds residents to protect themselves and their families against blacklegged ticks year round,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “While ticks are most active during the spring, summer and fall, they can also be active in winter when temperatures rise above freezing and there is no snow.”

Here are some simple safety tips to follow when heading into wooded or brushy natural areas:

  • Wear light coloured pants, long sleeved tops, closed footwear and tuck your pants into your socks
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin
  • Search your body for ticks, especially the groin, scalp, back and underarm areas and quickly remove attached ticks; visit york.ca/lymedisease for instructions on how to safely remove ticks
  • You may be able to wash off unattached ticks by bathing or showering as soon as possible after coming indoors
  • Check your pets for ticks

York Region Public Health continues active tick surveillance throughout the fall and will conduct passive tick surveillance year round. Active tick surveillance involves dragging a cloth through brushy, wooded areas to assess the establishment of blacklegged tick populations in the community. Passive tick surveillance relies on residents submitting ticks to their local health unit, who send the ticks for identification and testing to determine if they are blacklegged ticks and if they carry the bacteria.

In Ontario, only the blacklegged tick can transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Not all blacklegged ticks are infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria so not all tick bites will spread Lyme disease. If a tick is infected, it is most likely to spread the infection after being attached for 24 hours or more. Lyme disease does not spread from human-to-human.

More information on Lyme disease and ticks is available at york.ca/lymedisease or by contacting York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653; TTY 1-866-512-6228.

The Regional Municipality of York consists of nine local cities and towns, and provides a variety of programs and services to 1.2 million residents, 50,000 businesses and 595,000 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at york.ca/regionalservices

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Media Contact:
Ben Mulholland, Community and Health Services, The Regional Municipality of York
Tel: 1-877-464-9675 ext. 74067
Email: ben.mulholland@york.ca
After-hours:
Phone: 905-806-1216,
Email: chs_media@york.ca


York Region; blacklegged ticks; ticks The Regional Municipality of York en-US Media Release