TICK ALERT AT MURPHYS POINT PARK

 

It has recently been confirmed that Blacklegged Ticks ARE found at Murphys Point Provincial Park and some of these have been found to carry Lyme Disease. So, when you are working or hiking on the ski trails in the Park in future, you will want to make yourself aware of ticks and understand the role they play in spreading Lyme Disease. To help you in this educational process, you should print out this Tick Handout to study and carry with you when you are going out in the woods. Developing such an awareness and knowledge is the first step necessary to protect yourself and others from this natural hazard which is new to our local environment.

 

There are many different species of ticks and not all of them carry Lyme Disease. The most common tick you may encounter is the American Dog Tick, which does not carry the disease. The only tick that carries Lyme Disease in Ontario is the Blacklegged (or Deer) Tick. Both ticks can be found in wooded areas or tall grass habitats. There are a few key ways to tell the difference between Dog Ticks and Blacklegged Ticks. Dog Ticks are much larger than Blacklegged Ticks which are the size of a sesame seed. Remember that both types of ticks are quite a bit larger when they are engorged after a feeding. Also, Blacklegged Ticks have red markings on their backs whereas Dog Ticks are brown in colour.

Ticks feed slowly, and an infected tick must feed on you for at least 24 hours in order to infect you with the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. If you become infected from a tick bite, symptoms usually begin within 1 – 2 weeks, but can take as long as one month to begin. The “classic” symptom is a bulls-eye rash that can develop anywhere on the body; however, this rash may not occur in all cases.  Early symptoms of Lyme Disease can include flu-like symptoms such as fever, headaches, stiff neck, jaw pain, and sore muscles. If untreated, problems with the heart, nervous system, and joints can occur months or years later. Lyme Disease is easily treated in the early stages so seek medical attention if you feel unwell. 

Unfortunately, some members of the local medical community are not yet aware that Blacklegged Ticks and Lyme Disease have advanced into this region of Ontario. So in seeking medical attention for the above symptoms be sure to emphasize the possibility that you may have been bitten by a tick.

 

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