The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is encouraging residents to remain vigilant and take proactive measures to minimize the risk of Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus. Richard Ovcharovich, the organization’s Manager of Health Protection, says with the spring comes the dangers of these diseases. “There is an increased risk of vector-borne diseases, particularly ticks, and Lyme disease, as well as West Nile virus. It is vital for individuals to be aware of the risks and to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”
Officials say ticks thrive in wooded and grassy areas and pose a significant threat to public health. Their bites can transmit Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that can cause severe complications if left untreated. According to local data, the number of reported Lyme disease cases has been steadily rising, emphasizing the need for increased awareness and preventive measures. The health unit says we should be avoiding tick-infested areas such as tall grass, dense vegetation, and wooded areas by staying on trails and wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent.
The HKPR District Health Unit no longer accepts ticks for testing and instead refers residents to use etick.ca, a public platform for image-based identification and population monitoring for ticks in Canada.
West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes and can lead to severe neurological complications. Four out of five people do not show any West Nile Virus symptoms. Others may see symptoms two to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
The risk of the disease can be reduced by eliminating mosquito breeding grounds by removing standing water from outdoor containers. Protective measures such as wearing long sleeves and pants and applying mosquito repellents when spending time outdoors are also effective measures.
For more information visit hkpr.on.ca/FightTheBite.