To the Editor:
The weather is slowly improving and more people are active and moving outdoors. I had a call from someone the other week who was bitten while doing yard work and found the tick the next day but unfortunately did not save the tick. I also had contact with someone who had taken a child to the ER with a tick attached. The triage nurse removed the tick and flushed it down the drain and they were told nothing to worry about and to keep an eye on the site.
I also had contact with a person who took a five year old to be checked after the tick was removed and saved by the mother, a doctor checked the bite site and they were sent on their way. The mother was also told that there had been three others in so far that day with ticks.
If you have a tick bite and have the tick, be sure to save the it. Place it in a small zip lock plastic bag and save it in your freezer. Be sure to note the date, where you were when bitten and the name of the person bitten as well as contact information. The mom with the saved tick was sending it off for testing. There was another child with an attached tick that the ER flushed. It also took them two tries to remove the tick I was told.
They were informed, like so many others, that they no longer test ticks for Lyme and could not give antibiotics unless he developed a bull’s eye rash. In some current research it is said that only about 30 per cent develop a rash and it is not always a bull’s eye. Some have been told they do not send ticks away as over 90 per cent are positive for Lyme but it is unlikely that it would be transferred. In reality, at this time 20-40 to per cent are positive for Lyme and it is difficult to determine what co-infections the ticks may be carrying. The time for the bacteria to be transferred is also under question. I wonder where doctors and health care workers are getting their information. Things must change!
The tick can be sent for identification and testing even though the province of Nova Scotia at this time has no program dealing with ticks. If you have the tick that bit you it can be sent for testing. 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 (https://www.lloydticklab.ca/submit-your-ticks.html).
Ticks can be sent for identification only to Andrew Hebda at the Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer St., Halifax, B3H 3A6
I encourage people to contact their MLA and MP regarding this growing problem that needs to be acted upon sooner than later.
Education is key!