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Last year, we shared a blog post about tick safety and Lyme disease prevention during the summer.
Since that time, experts estimate that higher-risk Lyme disease areas in the province have more than doubled.
What do the numbers mean?
Don’t panic – the higher numbers aren’t necessarily an indicator that tick populations are on the rise. Rather, experts believe the number of reported incidents has more to do with increased awareness.
“We have a good environment for tick populations to establish, and with greater awareness we often see an increase in testing, which results in an increase in numbers,” says Colleen Ryan, a communicable disease prevention and control consultant for the Department of Health and Wellness.
Tick estimated risk areas 2017
Tick estimated risk areas 2018
Higher numbers aren’t a reason to cancel any camping trips or to spend the summer inside, but they are a sign to be cautious, says Ryan.
“We want people to enjoy the outdoors safely. Just as you protect yourself from the sun, we want people to protect themselves from tick-borne illnesses.”
Protecting yourself against Lyme disease
Here are some of the Department of Health and Wellness’ tips on preventing Lyme disease.
In Nova Scotia, only infected blacklegged ticks carry Lyme disease. If you do find a tick on you, the University of Rhode Island has a Tick Identification Chart that can help to identify blacklegged (deer) ticks from dog ticks, the other species present in the province.
You can find more information about tick safety in Nova Scotia here.