Manitoba reporting an increasing number of tick-borne diseases
WINNIPEG -- The province says it is seeing an increase in tick-borne diseases over the past several years, with cases of Lyme disease more than doubling in five years.
With more Manitobans spending more time outdoors in the warmer weather – the province is reminding people to be cautious about ticks.
Santina Lee, a medical officer with Manitoba Health and Seniors Care, told CTV News the province has been seeing an increase in tick-borne illnesses in the past number of years – especially Lyme disease.
"With more awareness over the last few years about ticks, particularly about black-legged ticks, and looking for tick-borne diseases, I think more people are checking themselves and noticing and looking for that," Lee said.
While the total number of reported tick-borne diseases in 2020 is not available due to delays caused by the pandemic, the province shows between 2015 and 2019, reported cases of Lyme disease more than doubled.
The province said the black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick, is responsible for spreading tick-borne diseases.
While ticks are more common in southern Manitoba, Lee said each season is different and sometimes ticks can pop up in unexpected areas.
"That is why it is really important in terms of being aware about ticks," she said. "Regardless of where you are living, or where you are outside and doing your activities."
She said ticks tend to be in tall grass and shrubs. She said people hiking should stick to the centre of the trails and check themselves for ticks when they get home.
The province has launched a new eTick program to help Manitobans identify what kind of tick may have bitten them.
"If you found a tick, you can take a picture of it and upload it to either the website or to the free app, and that will put you in touch with an expert who will have a look at the picture and help you identify what species of tick that is," she said.
Lee said if someone does get a black-legged tick bite, they should monitor for any symptoms and contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible.
-with files from CTV's Kayla Rosen