New program to monitor tick distribution in southern N.B.

New Brunswick has announced a two-year surveillance program to monitor the distribution of ticks and the risk of Lyme disease.

The program, announced Friday, is a partnership with the federal government, which will provide $69,000 over two years.

Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet says the enhanced surveillance will provide the province with up-to-date information on the current distribution of the reproducing population of the tick and tick-borne pathogens.

Surveillance will take place in identified "risk areas" of southern New Brunswick to monitor how widespread Lyme disease and other tick-borne pathogens are in the local tick populations.

Those so-called risk areas include Grand Manan, Grand Bay-Westfield, Saint John, Rothesay, Quispamsis, St. Stephen, Saint Andrews and St. George.

The surveillance will also occur elsewhere in the province to detect potential new risk areas.

Numbers released by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health show there were 51 cases of Lyme disease in New Brunswick between 2006 and 2016, including eight cases in 2016.