As the warm weather has arrived and families head outdoors, Albertans are encouraged to submit ticks they discover to help monitor for the Lyme disease bacteria.
If Albertans find ticks on themselves, they should remove the ticks safely, using tweezers, as soon as possible. Ticks found on people or in their surroundings can be submitted to an Environmental Public Health Office, a First Nations Health Centre or a doctor. Ticks found on pets or farm animals should be taken to a veterinarian.
Submitted ticks are checked to see if they are a species capable of carrying the Lyme disease bacteria and, if they are, whether they test positive for the bacteria.
“Alberta is known for our world-class wilderness and wildlife, and our government wants to ensure all families have the tools they need to enjoy the great outdoors safely and healthily. Whether they are going fishing out of province or camping in our beautiful mountains, I encourage families to be aware of ticks, and to know how to safely remove and submit them.”
~Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health
“Alberta’s tick surveillance program relies on Albertans submitting ticks to determine if populations of ticks able to cause Lyme disease are present in the province. Thanks to tick submissions from previous years, we know the risk of getting Lyme disease in Alberta is very low. I encourage Albertans to keep submitting so we can continue to monitor the situation here.”
~Dr. Kristin Klein, Deputy Medical Officer of Health
Albertans can reduce their risk of tick bites by:
- Covering up as much skin as possible when going into wooded or grassy areas.
- Using bug spray that contains the chemical DEET, IR3535 or Icaridin.
- Checking themselves and their pets for ticks after spending time outside.
- Being aware of the risk of Lyme disease when travelling outside of the province to places where ticks that can carry the Lyme disease bacteria have established populations.
Test results have shown that ticks carrying Lyme disease bacteria do not have established populations in Alberta, and the risk of contracting Lyme disease here is very low.
The tick surveillance program does not test for Lyme disease in humans. Anyone concerned about a tick bite or who thinks they may have Lyme disease should visit their doctor and bring the tick with them if possible.