Contaminated ticks in the Laurentians

Lyme disease, which emerged in Quebec in 2011, is transmitted by tick bites. In 2014, the disease affected almost 10 people in the Saint-Laurent area. In 2021, the CISSS identified more than twenty patients. In light of this resurgence of the disease, here are the preventive measures that need to be taken.

You walk through the forest, come home and find that a small black beast is attached to your ankle. It’s probably a tick. It is possible to remove it yourself with eyebrow tweezers. However, be careful not to crush the tick and leave its head on your body.

The longer a tick remains attached, the greater the risk of Lyme disease transmission. In 60 to 80% of cases, skin redness occurs at the site of the bite. Lyme symptoms are usually some kind of flu-like condition. They appear between 3 and 30 days after contact with the tick.

To avoid contracting the disease, there is preventive treatment. Your pharmacist or doctor can prescribe an antibiotic based on doxycycline. However, criteria for eligibility for treatment have been established by the CISSS [Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux].

list of criteria

• Stung in a community where the tick can transmit Lyme disease. (See the website for parishes www.inspq.qc.ca/zoonosis/disease-of-lyme)

• Adherence of a tick to the skin for more than 24 hours;

• removal of the tick for less than 72 hours;

• No contraindication for doxycycline.

preventive measures

“The best way to avoid Lyme disease is not to get bitten”, warns the specialist of the CISSS des Laurentides, Marie-Claude Lacombe. To do this, it is advisable to protect the places where the tick could attach itself to your skin. “The tick doesn’t fly or jump. It often lingers in tall grass and can cling to your skin if you’re not careful. Wearing a hat, long clothes, or applying mosquito repellent increases your chances of not getting bitten.”‘ says DD Marie Claude Lacombe.

“Not all ticks carry the disease. Only people with black legs can transmit the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is responsible for Lyme disease in humans.”, explains the specialist. Ticks are infected by biting rodents, deer, and other wild animals. They can then transmit the microbe to humans.“In regions where the bacteria circulate, only 8 to 10% of ticks are infected”informs the doctor.

Chronic Lymes

Lyme disease can cause neurological and cardiovascular complications. “Even though treatments exist, chronic symptoms may persist in some patients with the disease”supports DDLacombe. These symptoms can affect the person’s ability to function at work, school, or play. “According to studies, the persistence of symptoms is less common in children (less than 1%) than in adults (5 to 20%).”we can read on the website of CISSS des Laurentides.

The disease is treated with antibiotics. The choice of treatment depends on the age and impairment of the infected person. A full physical and neurological examination is required for those affected. The effectiveness of the treatment is assessed clinically. Some damage caused by disease can be irreversible.

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