The number of Lyme disease cases in the Canadian province of Quebec have increased significantly in recent years, prompting health officials to advise the public to be aware of tick bites this summer.


According to a report in the Montreal Gazette, there was 159 Lyme disease cases reported in 2015. This compares to 142 cases reported in 2013 and only 32 cases in 2011.

“People have to be aware of the fact that a tick bite cannot be mundane,” said Dr. Horacio Arruda, national director of public health. “In certain regions of southern Quebec, particularly the Estrie, Montérégie and Centre-du-Québec, the risk of contracting Lyme disease is real and its consequences can be important, especially if the infection isn’t detected and treated in time.”

“Lyme disease has been in progression in Quebec for several years already but remains quite unknown to the population,” said Doctor Arruda. After an outdoor activity, it is recommended to check your skin for ticks. If bitten, it is crucial to gently remove the tick with a pair of tweezers within 24 hours. Do not use your fingers because you risk crushing the tick, which would speed the spread of the disease. When removed, the tick should be placed in a sealed container for analysis in case of an infection. Then, clean your skin with soap and water and wash your hands well.

LISTEN: Ticks: An interview with Dan Wolff