May is Lyme Disease Awareness month in the USA. It hasn't been officially declared that in Canada as far as I am aware. However Lyme Disease (LD) is on the increase in many parts of this country, especially eastern Canada. Southwestern Ontario has been a hotbed for it for several years now. My first encounter with it goes back to 1976, although it was not confirmed as such at the time.
The Black-legged Tick is considered the primary vector of the disease. They are much smaller than other ticks found in the area such as the Wood or Dog Tick, which also may appear on humans and pets.
|Adult Black-legged Tick|
An update on LD on another post can be seen at this link.
Or you can just do a search using key words such as Lyme Disease on this blog to see the other posts.
If you or your pets spend any time out of doors, sometimes even in your own back yard, you may encounter a Black-legged Tick that could transmit LD. They can occur in various types of habitat. Grassy/shrubby areas are popular, partly because rodents and deer, which are typical hosts for both immature and adult ticks, are more abundant in these areas.
In spite of careful tick checks, there is the possibility that an immature or adult tick may go unnoticed. If one happens to lock on to you and begin to engorge on your blood, the transmission of the spirochete may occur, and then you may be susceptible to early stage LD, which may occur a few days after being bitten. First stage symptoms of LD may include flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, chills, aches and pains. When you experience this in a season where catching the flu is much less likely or even highly unlikely it should be an important warning. A bull's-eye rash, or something similar, may be noticed, although there are varying opinions on how often this may occur. Some people say it may occur in less than 30% of the cases; others suggest it may occur in more than 50% of cases. Clearly not having a rash is not indicative of LD not being present. The flu-like symptoms are much more reliable.
Rashes can vary. Here are several that I have had.
|On my lower leg|
|On my side|