A Windsor-Essex County resident has tested positive for Lyme disease. This marks the first clinically diagnosed human case for the area in 2016. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread through the bite of a blacklegged deer tick. These ticks are a crawling, non-flying insect that feed on blood.

Black-legged tick
Ixodes scapularis, a Black-legged tick/CDC

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Associate Medical Officer of Health for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, is reminding area residents to protect themselves and their family against ticks when going outdoors.

To reduce your risks of being bitten by a tick:  
• Avoid walking in tall grass and stick to the centre of paths.
• Keep grass in your yard short.
• Cover up. Wear long sleeves and pants. Tuck your pants into your shoes and wear closed toed shoes
• Wear light coloured clothing to spot ticks more easily
• Use insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET on exposed skin.
• Shower after being outside.
• Do a full body check after being outdoors. Ticks can be a small as a poppy seed.
• Check pets and children after they come in from outdoors. Talk to your vet about keeping pets protected from ticks.
• When doing a full body check for ticks, please pay close attention to areas such as scalp, ankles, armpits, groin, naval and behind ears and knees.

If bitten by a tick, individuals should:
• Properly remove tick with a tick key or follow Public Health Agency of Canada’s directions for removal with tweezers.
• Gently wash the bite and surrounding area. Use a disinfectant on the skin.
• Do not dispose of the tick. Keep it in a container or a small plastic bag that can be sealed. Place a piece of damp paper towel in the container or bag.
• Contact your physician.
• Contact the Health Unit as the tick will need to be sent away for identification.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit accepts ticks that are found on human bodies. We do not accept ticks found on animals.