Tick talk: Bacteria from ticks can cause Lyme disease

Hikers and pet owners should be aware of potential for disease

  • May. 23, 2012 8:00 p.m.

With the arrival of warmer weather, many of us will be heading into the outdoors to enjoy hiking, camping and other recreational activities.

If you’re spending time in tall grass, brush or wooded areas, you may be exposed to insect or tick bites.

Ticks are tiny arachnids that feed on the blood of humans and animals and in very rare cases, can transmit disease-causing bacteria. While less than one per cent of ticks in B.C. carry the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease, the condition can be serious for those infected.

“There are a number of precautions you can take to protect yourself against tick bites,” says Dr. Murray Fyfe, Medical Health Office for the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA). “First, make sure you’re covered-up; wear light-coloured clothes including a long-sleeved shirt that you can tuck into your pants and then tuck your pants into your boots or socks.”

Other steps you can take to protect yourself against tick and insect bites:

•Walk on cleared trails wherever possible.

• Apply insect repellent containing DEET on all uncovered skin and reapply as directed.

• Carefully check clothing, scalp (whether wearing a hat or not) and any exposed skin when leaving an area where ticks might live.

• Regularly check pets for ticks.

“Lyme disease is uncommon on Vancouver Island,” adds Dr. Fyfe.  “A small number of cases may be diagnosed in any given year, with the last case being reported in 2009. The disease can be serious however, so it’s worth taking steps to avoid being bitten.”

Ticks are easiest to spot when they are actually sucking blood. The feeding tick’s mouth will be under the skin, but the rest of it (which is blue-grey in colour) will be visible. A tick should be removed carefully, without crushing it.

To find out more about ticks or what to do if you find one:

Healthlink BC:   www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/hfile01.stm.

Just Posted

Economic inequality, immigration still need work in Victoria: Prosperity index

Housing, environmental health factors show improvements in 2019: report

Victoria City Councillor Laurel Collins wins federal NDP nomination

Collins will run for Victoria in the upcoming federal election

WATCH: Soon-to-be guide dogs take part in the Amazing Puppy Race

10 puppies training to be guide dogs took part in a social Easter egg hunt

Long weekend starts with series of crashes

The long weekend traffic pile up is starting with a series of… Continue reading

Victoria church bells toll in solidarity with Notre Dame Cathedral after devastating fire

Churches around the globe ring bells to honour iconic Paris cathedral

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Most Read