‘No tick is a good tick’: Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

‘No tick is a good tick’: Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

The foundation’s president said all ticks that attach to humans and pets can carry various diseases

May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Canada and the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation wants people to be more careful when enjoying the outdoors.

According to the foundation’s president, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by a tick bite. The disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia.

“Borrelia is spiral-shaped… and it’s very effective at disseminating throughout the body because of its spiral shape. It moves through your system like mini corkscrew,” he said.

He added the most typical and the easiest way to recognize Lyme disease is if an individual is experiencing flu-like symptoms when it’s not flu season.

“But some people, less than 50 per cent, will get a rash because only a small subset of the bacteria that causes the disease will give a person a rash, which is why not everyone gets the rash.”

Wilson said Borrelia can cause a wide range of symptoms and can mimic many different diseases, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, even heart, kidney and bowel problems, which contributes to the reason why a majority of people don’t get diagnosed.

“There was a paper published in the fall of 2018 by Dr. Vett Lloyd, a microbiologist at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick and Dr. Ralph Hawkins from the University of Calgary. In that study, they were able to show that 93 per cent of people with Lyme disease in Canada don’t get that diagnosis. It’s very hit or miss.”

But the most important thing to keep in mind, according to Wilson, is to understand tick habits.

He said ticks prefer tall grass and brushy areas where there is leaf litter, shade and humidity at the ground level. They don’t like direct sunlight.

“So if you’re out in the woods, remember to stay in the centre of the paths and don’t brush up against the tall grass and brush up the edge of the path, because that’s frequently where ticks are questing,” he said.

“Questing means they’re looking for a meal. They crawl up, get on the end of the blade of grass or leaf and put their Velcro-like legs then they latch on to you. They’re quick and move to areas where there is open skin.”

Wilson said those who like to spend time outside should check their ankles, waistlines and neck areas after a hike or a walk. He added people should then immediately put their clothes in the dryer for 15 minutes to kill any ticks that have latched on.

Wilson said that fortunately, the species of ticks that can transmit Lyme disease isn’t very common in the Okanagan.

“But that doesn’t mean they’re safe either. Some ticks can cause paralysis because they have toxins and some spread bacterial infections,” he said.

“Keep in mind that no tick is a good tick. Take tick attachments very seriously.”

For more information on what the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation does, visit their website.

READ: Bear fails to interrupt golfers in Vernon

READ: Improper waste disposal leaves Okanagan worker with serious injury


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Taking part in the Business Recovery and Expansion Program offered by the Tsuts’weye Women’s Entrepreneur and Innovation Network has been a re-energizing experience for Wildwood Flower Emporium owner Ellen Gonella of Salmon Arm. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Making connections: Salmon Arm business owner re-energized by free local program

Applications being accepted for Business Recovery and Expansion Program

The Okanagan’s first virtual wedding fair will be held Saturday, March 27. {Paul Rodgers photo)
Okanagan to host virtual wedding fair

Okanagan wine country is No. 1 destination for weddings - online event set for March 27

Vernon Search and Rescue, with help from the Air Rescue One helicopter out of Wildcat Helicopters in Kelowna, and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, were able to transport an injured snowmobiler to Vernon Regional Airport, where he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital with a serious, painful back injury. (Facebook photo)
Okanagan helicopter rescue teams called to retrieve injured sledder at Greystokes

Vernon and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue help load injured man into waiting helicopter

Chase RCMP held two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight in their detachment’s cells on Feb. 6. (File Photo)
Chase RCMP hold two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight

The two separate incidents took place less than an hour apart.

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

KISU swim club member Justin Fotherby is one of six swimmers from across Canada to be recognized for the 2020-2021 Victor Davis Award. (Submitted photo)
Penticton swimmer wins major awards, closing in on Olympic dream

Justin Fotherby, a KISU club member, has just won the prestigious Victor Davis Award

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Oliver Fire Department. (Submitted photo)
Burn pile fire spreads to nearby garage in Oliver

The fire could be seen from Highway 97 and was called in at 3:45 a.m.

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Last year, more than 80 parents braved sub-zero temperatures to stand in line at Vernon’s Beairsto Elementary to ensure a Kindergarten spot for their children come September. Now, this first-come, first-served system is about to change. (Morning Star file photo)
COVID exposure at Vernon elementary school

Interior Health reporting exposure Feb. 19 and 22 at Beairsto

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

Most Read