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Ticks That Carry Lyme Disease Spreading Into Canada

This article is more than 7 years old.
The classic "bullseye rash" of Lyme Disease
The classic "bullseye rash" of Lyme Disease

I'd been wondering if perhaps we could take an outdoor vacation so far north that we'd be beyond the Lyme bacterium's reach, but this report just out in the Canadian newspaper Times Colonist disillusions me: The deer ticks that can carry Lyme disease have been spreading rapidly in Canada, apparently due to global warming.

From the Times Colonist:

A new study has documented the rapid growth in Canada of ticks that can cause Lyme disease, and global warming is thought to be a factor.

Ticks capable of carrying Lyme disease went from being almost non-existent in populated areas in Canada in 1990 to being currently in 18 per cent of such spots east of Saskatchewan, and this is expected to reach 80 per cent by 2020, according to the paper published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology.

Lyme Disease remains exceedingly rare in Canada compared to the United States, but my paranoia remains broad enough that I'm leaning toward Western Canada if we take a trip.

The study did show that warmer areas are seeing more rapid growth in ticks.

Some of the spots seeing particularly fast growth include southern Quebec, southern and eastern Ontario, and southern Nova Scotia, Leighton said.

He said most areas in Western Canada, which wasn't part of this study, do not have significant tick populations because of colder weather and lower humidity in the Prairies and mountains.

This program aired on March 12, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.


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