Lyme Disease – symptoms and prevention

Warmer weather in springtime means more outdoor activities. But it also means more tick activity as well. Above: blacklegged tick on fingertip with the RCDHU logo. (Tick photo: Journalist’s Resource)

Renfrew County and District (RCD) has many areas that are suitable habitats for blacklegged ticks (also called deer ticks), which have the potential to transmit Lyme disease to humans. The rate of Lyme Disease in RCD has been increasing, and since 2020 has surpassed the Ontario average.

Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) continues to conduct tick surveillance, which helps to identify the risk areas where infected blacklegged ticks are more likely to be found. Current risk areas are in the Eastern portion of Renfrew County, with ticks consistently identified near Arnprior, Calabogie, and Cobden. However, ticks capable of transmitting Lyme Disease can still be found outside of these areas.

Only infected blacklegged ticks can transmit Lyme disease. In most cases, the tick must be attached for at least 24 hours for the Lyme disease bacterium to be passed on to humans. Early symptoms of Lyme disease in humans usually appear between three and 30 days after a bite from an infected blacklegged tick.

Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include:

  • a bull’s-eye rash surrounding the bite location
  • fever
  • chills
  • headache
  • muscle aches and joint pains
  • fatigue
  • swollen lymph nodes


You can prevent tick bites when outdoors and lower your risk of Lyme Disease by:

  • Wearing light-coloured clothing,
  • Wearing closed footwear and socks, with long sleeve shirts tucked into your pants, and your pants tucked into your socks,
  • Using an insect repellant with DEET or Icaridin according to label directions,
  • Conducting a tick check. To learn more about how to do a tick check or how to remove a tick, visit: Tick-borne diseases
  • Consulting your pharmacist or healthcare provider if you are concerned about a tick bite, particularly if the tick was attached for 24 hours or more. Preventive treatment may be recommended.

Tick identification:

If you are bitten by a tick, you can submit the tick to RCDHU for identification, or you can do this online by visiting:

  • Geneticks Statistics Center – Tick testing service, interactive tick maps and statistics
  • eTick – A public platform for image-based identification and population monitoring of
    ticks in Canada
    For more information visit or call 613-732-3629 extension 555.

RCDHU Communications(2024,Apr.30) Lyme Disease: Know the Risks and How to Prevent Tick Bites [media release]

One comment

  1. Chris Huggett

    Deer ticks are spreading west rapidly . The exploding White-tail Deer population in eastern Ontario is the main culprit because of a reduced mortality rate from warm winters. Hospital staff are not trained in taxonomy and tick specimens are sent to Canada’s central lab in Winnipeg. The turn-a-round can be between 1-3 months for identification. A blood sample will not show a Lymes infection until the patient has been infected for a set period of weeks. By then the patient will have contacted Lymes and any co-infections. The disease then becomes chronic. The treatment protocol administered by front line hospital staff is a prophylaxis- single oral dose of Doxycycline- a broad band antibiotic. If its not administered within the first three (3) days the patient should go on the full oral dosage regime. Pregnant women are given Amoxicillin. But the latter anti-biotic is not effective in eradicating possible co-infections. However, Amoxicillin should kill the Lymes bacterium. Lymes disease has destroyed the lives of many Naturalists I know who live with the debilitating symptoms all their lives. Until recently, physicians were unfamiliar with the symptoms and failed to properly diagnosis the disease. I can not overemphasize taking precautions.

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