Public Health identifies West Island as high-risk area for Lyme disease-carrying ticks

Kirkland resident Ian Pellat was gardening Wednesday morning. When he went to shower, he noticed a brown spot on his wrist that wouldn’t come off with soap and water.

“I took a closer look, and sure enough it was a deer tick,” he said.

It’s the second time he’s been bitten by the pesky parasite, a known carrier of Lyme disease. He points to the woods outside his back fence, the West Island forest known as Anse-a-l’Orme.

“The woods are populated by all kinds of mice, rabbits, deer. I’m pretty sure that there are ticks all over the place this days. And more so in the past few years,” he said.

Quebec Public Health officials have recently identified the West Island as a high risk area for the bacterial infection, which can initially have common symptoms like headache, fatigue and muscle aches.

“The classic symptom is a rash, a red rash that grows from the area where the tick bit,” said Dr. Noemi Savard, of Montreal Public Health. Savard added that climate change has caused the ticks’ range to spread northward gradually.

In Quebec there were 500 cases of Lyme disease reported in 2019.

Pellat says he’s got a doctor’s appointment scheduled for Friday, and so far he hasn’t seen a rash. According to Savard, while Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics, it’s a good idea to treat it as early as possible.

“Because the longer it’s left untreated, there are symptoms that become harder to treat,” she says, “including the cardiovascular system and even the nervous system.“

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