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Tick tests positive for bacteria that causes Lyme disease

It’s the second tick to test positive this summer

Another blacklegged tick in the region has tested positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Public Health Sudbury and Districts is reporting.

This is the second positive tick reported in the area this summer.

Lyme disease, often called “the great imitator,” is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Symptoms of the disease can be similar to those of other diseases.

A common indication of Lyme disease is a skin rash at the location of the tick bite that often takes on the appearance of a bull’s eye of concentric rings, “beginning as a flat or raised red area with partial central clearing that slowly expands out from the site of the bite over several days,” information provided by the health unit states. 

The rash can appear within two to 30 days of exposure, and will disappear within three weeks if left untreated.

You don’t want to leave it untreated.

Flu-like symptoms, including headache, chills, pains in the joints, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, fever, aching muscles, stiff neck, sore throat, and vomiting, can progress to arthritis, heart disease or neurological disease if not treated. Final symptoms can occur weeks, months or even years after the initial symptoms have disappeared.

There are things you can do to minimize your chance of exposure to a tick bit, Public Health Sudbury & Districts said.These include:

  • Avoid walking in tall grass and make sure yards are kept clear of debris and overgrown vegetation, grass, bushes, and trees;
  • Keep wood piles and bird feeders away from homes;
  • Wear a long-sleeved, light-coloured shirt, pants, and closed-toe shoes;
  • Use insect repellents that are federally regulated and contain DEET, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for their safe use;
  • Check your clothing, body, and pets for ticks and change your clothing upon returning home from the outdoors, and;
  • Take a shower to help wash off ticks that have not yet attached themselves to the skin.

If you find a tick on yourself or a loved one, use tweezers to grip the tick close to the skin and gently pull straight up. Once removed, wash the area with soap and water. Put the tick in a dry container and bring it to the health unit for identification and testing.

Followup with your health-care provider to determine if you need treatment, especially if the tick was attacked for more than 24 hours.