Ticks that carry Lyme disease found in parks in Oakville, Milton, Burlington
Published June 7, 2023 at 9:10 am
Halton Region officials found ticks during a recent sweep for the parasitic arachnids in 10 of 11 parks in Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.
Halton Region Public Health conducts tick dragging in the spring and fall. This is a method of collecting ticks to identify risk areas where past tick surveillance indicated the potential presence of blacklegged ticks and is the physical collection of blacklegged ticks from suitable tick habitats.
Eleven locations were dragged and ticks were found in: Twelve Mile Trail, Aspen Forest Park, Langtry Park, Glenorchy Conservation Area, Kelso Conservation Area, Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area, Hidden Valley Park, LaSalle Park, Lowville Park and Mountsberg Conservation Area. The only area that was clear was Rennie St. Woodlot.
The blacklegged tick is a carrier of Lyme disease, a bacterial infection with symptoms that include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Because of the number of ticks found during the sweep, all of Halton is considered a high-risk area.
Halton Region Public Health offers several steps you can take to prevent tick bites:
- If possible, avoid known tick environments (such as wooded, brushy or tall grass areas) and stay on trails when outdoors.
- Cover up by wearing long-sleeved, light-coloured shirts and pants with tightly woven fabric.
- Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pant legs into your socks to keep ticks away from your bare skin.
- Wear shoes that cover your entire foot, avoiding sandals or open shoes.
- Spray clothing and exposed skin with an insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin.
- Check your clothing and body for any ticks, especially around the groin, armpits and hairline after spending time outdoors.
- Check your pets regularly for ticks as they could carry them inside your home.
- Shower or bathe within two hours or being outdoors to wash away loose ticks.
- After outdoor activity, put clothes in a dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes to kill any ticks.
If you find a tick on your body, remove it as soon as possible. The risk of contracting Lyme disease increases with the length of time the tick remains attached. If a tick is attached for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is very low.
If you believe ticks are around your property, here’s how to limit them:
- Mow the lawn regularly to keep the grass short.
- Remove leaf litter, brush and weeds at the edge of the lawn and around stonewalls and woodpiles.
- Stack firewood neatly and in a dry area.
- Put barriers to exclude deer around your home and seal stonewalls and small openings to discourage rodent activity.
- Place children’s recreational playground sets, patios and decks away from the yard edges and trees. Place them on a woodchip or mulch foundation and in a sunny location, if possible.
- Treat pets that are commonly exposed to ticks with oral or topic acaricides (pesticide) as recommended by your veterinarian.