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Sudbury Public Health reports a positive case of Lyme disease on Manitoulin Island

Public Health Sudbury & Districts has received laboratory results confirming an adult has tested positive for Lyme disease with investigations indicating the disease was most likely locally acquired in the Manitoulin District.

Agency environmental support officer Ashley DeRocchis says although reports of locally acquired Lyme disease remain uncommon, people need to protect themselves when enjoying the outdoors.

She says black-legged ticks infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease has been found in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts in past years; however.

She says the ticks do not jump or fly but wait on grass and bushes for animals or humans to brush against the vegetation.

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Ticks vary in size and colour and can be hard to see until they are full of blood.

Avoiding a tick bite in the first place is best. To prevent tick bites:

Avoid walking in tall grass.

Make sure yards are kept clear of debris and overgrown vegetation, grass, bushes, and trees.

Keep woodpiles and bird feeders away from homes.

Wear a long-sleeved, light-colored shirt, pants, and closed-toe shoes.

Use insect repellents that are approved by Health Canada and follow the application recommendations on the package.

Do a tick check.

Take a shower after outdoor activities to help wash off ticks that have not yet attached themselves to the skin.

If you find a tick attached to a human:

Use fine-tipped tweezers to grab the tick close to the skin and gently pull it straight up.

Wash the area with soap and water.

Put the tick in a dry container and bring it to your local public health unit to be sent for identification and testing for Lyme disease.

Follow up with your health care provider to determine if you need treatment, especially if the tick has been attached for more than 24 hours. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics.

If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause serious complications to the heart, joints, and nervous system.

Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease may include:

A characteristic rash around the area of the bite that looks like a red bullseye.

Fever, headache, muscle, and joint pain.

Fatigue, stiff neck, and swollen glands.

For more information on Lyme disease and ticks, call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200, ext. 464 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200) or visit www.phsd.ca.

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