Black Legged Tick

Tick Bites and Lyme Disease

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What is the Health Hazard?

Blacklegged ticks that can transmit Lyme disease are in Ontario, and in more areas than previously thought. Workers who work in certain outdoor areas are at risk for tick bites and developing Lyme disease, and should protect themselves.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an infection caused by a bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi. In Ontario only bites by the blacklegged ticks (formerly called deer ticks) can spread the disease. Not all blacklegged ticks are infected with the bacteria. These ticks are more commonly found in wooded areas or tall grasslands and in provincial and national parks along the north shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River. Areas known to have blacklegged tick populations infected with the Lyme disease agent include Long Point Provincial Park, Turkey Point Provincial Park, Rondeau Provincial Park, Point Pelee National Park, Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area, Wainfleet Bog Conservation Area, and St. Lawrence Islands National Park. However, it is thought that the tick populations will continue to expand into neighbouring areas and may be spread by migratory birds to other parts of Ontario. Ticks carrying the Lyme disease agent have recently been documented in the Thunder Bay area and other parts of Northwestern Ontario, and Lyme disease in humans has been reported in Northern Ontario. The risk of tick bites increases between early spring and late fall.

Symptoms of Lyme disease usually occur within one to two weeks but can occur as soon as three days or as long as months, after an infected tick bite. In order to transmit the disease, a tick must be attached to feed for at least 18 to 24 hours. The early symptoms and signs may include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, fatigue, swollen glands, and a skin rash, especially one that looks like a red bull’s eye (called erythema migrans). If you develop these symptoms, promptly seek medical advice. Tell your doctor about your outdoor occupation, and if you have been working in an area where you may have had exposure to ticks. Early treatment with antibiotics usually results in complete recovery.

Lyme disease is not spread from person to person or by animals. However, animals may carry the ticks.


As a worker, what can I do to protect myself from West Nile virus?

The chance of being bitten by an infected mosquito is very small. Person to person contact does not spread the virus. It cannot be spread directly from a bird to a human. However, as a safety precaution it is still important to minimize exposure to mosquitoes in areas that West Nile activity has been documented.

Some of the precautions that workers can consider for their protection are:

  • Wear protective clothing. Mosquitoes are attracted to darker, more intense colours. Subject to other safety requirements, select light-coloured clothing, including long sleeved shirts or jackets, and long pants.
  • Tuck pants into socks for extra protection. Reduce your exposure by eliminating likely breeding sites at your workplace.
  • Where possible, eliminate standing water in yards, grounds, parking lots, ditches and flat roofs on a regular basis [or at least once a week]. For example, clean up and empty any local containers of standing water such as old , barrels, cans or any items of any kind that could hold standing water for any period of time outdoors.
  • Take particular care from dawn to dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Apply a mosquito repellent containing DEET or another federally approved personal insect repellent according to the directions on the label, before outdoor activities.
  • The amount of DEET in the insect repellent should be no greater than 30 per cent for adults. If you are unable to use DEET products, you may wish to use one of the other federally approved insect repellents.

Online Video - Radon what is it?

Please note the CBC has published another story on radon.  The content has been posted on-line and regional versions of the story may appear across the country, similar to the CBC's media coverage from June 3, 2014.


The CBC lists some test results of Federal Departments who participated in Health Canada's Federal Building Testing Program.  Here is the link to the Health Canada summary page about the program.


Any Questions about the above?  Contact:

Tara Barrows
Environmental Health Program - Radon
Health Canada - Ontario Region
Phone: 416 - 954-3146
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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