Pictou-Advocate-opinion

Winter does not mean no ticks

Opinion

To the Editor:

Baby its cold outside and whenever the temperature is below freezing the ticks know it and are inactive but waiting. It is important to remember ticks can be found in every season of the year. There are ticks out questing for a blood meal whenever the temperatures are above freezing. Please be aware and take precautions. Repellent and daily body checks are important.

Research from Dr. Vett Lloyd at Mount Allison University and Andrew Hebda from the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History has shown ticks found this time of year tend to be better fed because people do not check themselves or their pets as often as they do in the summer. The longer the tick is attached the greater the chance of the bacteria being transferred to the host. The actual time needed for transfer of pathogens has not been firmly established. Ticks from Nova Scotia are more likely to be infected with 40 per cent or more ticks infected in some regions, as do ones from southern New Brunswick where it can be as high as 30 per cent. It is important to continue to use repellents when out and about and to do regular clothing/body inspections.

Lyme is an extremely complex disease and is often called “The Great Imitator” because its symptoms mimic other diseases and can affect any part of the body, including the brain, heart and nervous system. The standard testing in Canada has been said to be flawed, resulting in missed cases and misdiagnosis. If it is not caught early the required treatment is longer and varied with hope of remission if not cure.

In Canada the treatment for Lyme is based on guidelines established in the United States by Infectious Diseases Society of America IDSA which have been rejected and in the process of being updated.

If you or family members do get a tick bite the tick can be sent for testing to Mount A and if your pet is bitten it can be sent for testing to Dal. If the tick was on a person it can be sent to Dr. Vett Lloyd at Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB where ALL ticks are being tested for Lyme. It is not just the blacklegged tick that can carry Lyme. The turnaround time is usually two to four weeks — http://www.lloydticklab.ca . Be sure to add your contact information so you can get the results.

Dalhousie University is doing a study and they want your ticks! The tick could be from your pet, yourself or just one that was walking on their next meal. Seal your tick in a baggie (with a damp cotton swab if it is still alive), put it in an envelope and mail it to: Tatiana Rossolimo, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford Street, PO Box 15000, Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2. Please include information on where the tick came from and an email address if you would like to know the results. Please note: they are not able to test specifically for Lyme disease at this time as the study is centred on other findings.

If bitten, seek medical attention. I hope and pray 2019 will bring change and treatment in Canada will be available for those suffering from chronic Lyme.

Education is KEY!

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin

New Glasgow