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An uptick in tick-borne illnesses reported in Ontario


The number of Lyme disease cases in Ontario is higher than it normally is this time of year, and it's due to a higher number of ticks being found across the province.

According to, there have been more than 1,100 sightings of blacklegged ticks in Ontario so far in 2024, and more than 600 of those were found on people. By comparison, there were just over 120 sightings reported on the eTick platform by this time in 2019.

Blacklegged ticks are the most likely tick to transmit Lyme disease, which explains the rise in Lyme disease cases across Ontario too.

So far, there have been 60 cases of Lyme disease reported by Public Health Ontario. According to government statistics, the average year-to-date is 43.

"It can cause things like joint pain, it can cause things like fatigue, sort of recurring fevers," explained Dr. Linna Li, the CEO and Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. "People are fairly familiar with Lyme disease in our region, but it's good to talk about symptoms and review what it looks like to have Lyme disease."

Ticks are most active when temperatures are above 0 C, and warmer climates allow ticks to have an earlier start to the season. According to government statistics, there has been a 1,000% increase in Lyme disease cases in Ontario in the last decade.

Golfers in Brockville, Ont. are used to ticks, and don't let the little critters stand in the way of hunting for golf balls in the woods.

"No, I'm not too concerned. I've had a number of ticks," said Klyde Brayton, a member at Brockville Country Club. "Sometimes you can feel it and it's just walking down your skin. You just pull it off."

Tips to reduce risk of tick bites

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit offers the following advice for reducing your risk of tick bits and infection:

  • Dress in light coloured clothing so you can see that a tick is on you (they are dark in colour).
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin. You can apply this to clothing or your skin.
  • Put your outdoor clothes in a hot dryer for several minutes to kill ticks.
  • Wear clothing that contains a tick repellent
  • Do a tick check when you return inside. If possible, have someone check you from behind. Check your pets for ticks as well.
  • Thoroughly check your body for ticks and nymphs and promptly remove them using tweezers or a tick twister.
  • You can take a quick shower and scrub well to help remove any unattached ticks.
  • Speak to your vet about ways to protect your pet. Top Stories

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