HPPH continues monitoring black legged ticks in Midwestern Ontario

Blacklegged Ticks. (Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / sarah2)

A Public Health Inspector with Huron Perth Public Health says there are no hot spots in Huron or Perth counties as far as black-legged ticks are concerned.

But Stephanie Carlisle says there are some hot spots around us for the black-legged tick that carries Lyme Disease.

Carlisle says so far this year, they’ve collected 52 ticks.

“Out of the 52 ticks, 24 of those ticks have been identified as black-legged ticks. So far, out of the 24 ticks, 18 have come back negative for Lyme Disease and we’re still waiting on the rest of the ticks.”

But, she points out, there have been no positives for Lyme Disease so far this year.

Carlisle also says, they have not, in the last ten years, identified any endemic area or hot spot for black-legged ticks in Huron or Perth, so that’s a good thing.

“So we haven’t had that here, which definitely makes us lucky. We do have some hot spots surrounding us, one of the big ones is the Pinery Provincial Park. They do have a known endemic population of black-legged ticks there, so they’re close by, but we, so far, have been lucky.”

Carlisle says last year a total of 64 ticks were submitted to the Health Unit.

“Last year we had a total of 64 ticks submitted to the Health Unit. Out of those 64, 27 were identified as black-legged ticks and two of those came back positive as carrying Lyme Disease.”

But there were no cases of anyone in Huron or Perth contracting Lyme Disease last year. So the odds against contracting Lyme Disease in Huron or Perth County are still good, but it’s a very serious thing if you do get it.

Carlisle says the best treatment is prevention and there’s information on that on the HPPH web site. She suggests anyone who enjoys hiking or golfing or anything that takes them near fields or long grass should make sure to check for ticks when they get home. The good news is ticks have to be on a person’s body for 24 to 36 hours before they can start transmitting the Lyme Disease bacteria.

A map to the known hot spots for ticks in Ontario can be found at https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/o/2021/ontario-lyme-disease-risk-area-map-2021.pdf