Manitoba Health has identified new and expanded Lyme disease risk areas in the province.

The areas were identified through an annual blacklegged tick surveillance program.

The province said Lyme disease transmission is highest where blacklegged ticks are most commonly found.

Officials said the six Lyme disease risk areas are:

• The southeast corner of the province, where the border meets Ontario and Minnesota, expanding north into Moose Lake Provincial Park;

• the Pembina Valley region, which stretches from the international border to the Rural Municipality of South Norfolk in the north and Killarney in the west including the Pembina Valley and escarpment as well as Pembina Valley Provincial Park;

• the eastern Assiniboine region, which has expanded west from Beaudry Provincial Park along the Assiniboine River as far as Poplar Point;

• the St. Malo region, which includes areas near the communities of St. Malo, Roseau River and Kleefeld;

• the Vita/Arbakka region; and

• the Richer/Ste. Genevieve area, which is located east of Winnipeg and just outside the Agassiz and Sandilands provincial forests.

Blacklegged ticks are most frequently found within and along the edge of forests and in spots with thick shrubs and other vegetation.

The blacklegged ticks can be found in other areas of Manitoba, but the risk of Lyme disease is lower outside of the areas noted above, said the province.

Guarding against blacklegged ticks

The province advised taking precautions, including:

• applying an appropriate tick-repellent, following label directions, on exposed skin and clothing;

• inspecting themselves, children and pets after spending time outdoors;

• removing ticks as soon as possible from people and pets;

• staying to the centre of walking trails;

• wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts; and

• keeping grass and shrubs around homes cut short to create drier environments that are less suitable for blacklegged tick survival.

Since 2009, 59 confirmed or probable cases of Lyme disease have been reported to Manitoba Health.

Nine cases have been reported so far in 2013.

More information and an updated map showing the Lyme disease risk areas is available online at: