May 13, 2021

By Christine Ross

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Getting outside for a walk or hike has become a popular pastime for many amid pandemic lock downs. But experts are warning there’s an increase this spring in the number of ticks that carry Lyme disease due to climate change and this year helped by an early cool spring with plenty of rain.

               black legged tick

Quebec based Biologist Pierre Chuard  is the project coordination of E-tick, a group that monitors tick populations and can identify them if you upload a photo to their  website

“If they find a tick, they should submit their pictures to us on the website or on our mobile app,” explained Chuard. “In Ontario, the main tick species if not the black legged tick but the American dock tick which poses a very low health risk to both ourselves and our pets.”

Toronto’s Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Christine Navarro encourages people to get outside but take precautions against both the tick and COVID-19.

“We definitely encourage everyone to go outside for some exercise, make sure you go the city of Toronto’s website so that you know what park amenities are available and that you take appropriate precautions to protect yourself from bites from ticks.”

She recommends wearing DEET, long sleeve shirt and pants when out for walk or hike and if bitten by a tick, remove it carefully with tweezers.

“If you’ve had that tick for more than 24 hours, you should still visit a doctor, you don’t need to know what kind of tick it was in order for them to do an assessment and to determine whether antibiotics are necessary.”

The city was forced to suspend its tick surveillance due to the pandemic but there are still lots of resources available on the city’s website

To upload a tick photo, visit  eTick

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