Photo of a tick supplied by the Perth District Health Unit

It’s a reminder to be aware of ticks. A blacklegged tick in the area has tested positive for Lyme disease.

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health unit says the infected bug was found in the skin of a person in North Bay. So far this year 14 ticks have been sent to the health unit for identification, seven turned out to be blacklegged, with this being the first one to test positive for the bacteria.

Brendan Hatton, the Senior Public Health Inspector for North Bay Parry Sound says while the risk of getting Lyme disease is “relatively low” you should still be taking steps to protect yourself. The health unit says ways to prevent tick bites include:

-Use bug spray or other insect repellants that contain DEET or Icaridin;

-Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks;

-Wear light-coloured clothing to spot ticks more easily;

-Search your clothes and body for ticks at least once a day, paying special attention to areas such as the groin, navel, armpits, scalp, behind ears and knees;

-Don’t forget to tick check children in your care;

-Try to stay on cleared paths when possible, as ticks are more commonly found in wooded areas, or in tall grasses, bushes and shrubs; and

-Take a shower as soon as you can after being outdoors

In the last five years, there have been seven human cases of Lyme disease in the health unit area, of which three were travel-related. For more information on Lyme disease, visit the health unit’s website (www.myhealthunit.ca/lyme) or call 1-800-563-2808.