Google Translate Disclaimer

Translation on this website is provided by Google Translate, a third-party automated translator tool. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of translations performed by Google Translate, or for any issues or damages resulting from its use.

print header

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in Canada. In Ontario, Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis). Lyme disease is designated as a disease of public health significance and is reportable under the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Prevention, early detection and treatment are essential to reduce the burden of Lyme disease. Health providers should be familiar with:

  • The local epidemiology and expanding risks of Lyme disease

  • Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease 

  • Clinical management practices including treatment, laboratory testing and patient education

  • Reporting requirements

Effective September 20, 2021, The National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) will not accept blacklegged ticks for bacterial testing of Borrelia burgdorferi, as part of the passive tick surveillance program. Passive tick surveillance will be supported by citizen science initiatives, such as, which utilizes digital image-based identification. Health care providers can submit a specimen for tick species identification through either, for quick and accurate tick species identification  or the Public Health Ontario Laboratory. To reduce duplication of services, only submit the tick once to one authority. The public health Ontario laboratory will not forward blacklegged ticks to the NML for laboratory testing. Laboratory testing of the specimen should not be used to diagnose Lyme disease in humans.  

The incidence of Lyme disease reported in Simcoe Muskoka and Ontario has increased in recent years. The rise is attributable to climate change and other anthropogenic environmental changes driving rapid geographic expansion of blacklegged ticks and supporting conditions suitable for B.burgdorferi. Blacklegged ticks infected with the pathogen causing Lyme disease are known to be present in Simcoe Muskoka and neighbouring areas.



Lyme disease is designated as a disease of public health significance and is reportable under the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act.  Report suspect and confirmed cases within one business day to the local Health Unit.

Avoiding tick-bites, early detection and removal of ticks can significantly decrease the risk of Lyme disease. Clinical management should include patient education on these items. The following resources can be shared:


SMDHU encourages the public to use eTick and to contact their health care provider if the tick has been identified as a blacklegged tick. is a public image-based tick identification platform that can quickly and accurately identify tick species.


Webinar: Lyme disease in Simcoe Muskoka: An update for clinicians (presented on May 19, 2021)


Serology: Specimen submission and collection notes (Public Health Ontario)
Technical report: Update on Lyme disease prevention and control (Public Health Ontario) 


For Health Professionals: Lyme Disease (Health Canada / Public health Agency of Canada) 

NEW: Health in a Changing Climate: Infectious Diseases (Health Canada)

United states:

Lyme Disease: Health Care Providers (CDC) 
Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (CDC)

Did you find what you were looking for today?
What did you like about this page?
How can we improve this page?

If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

Thanks for your feedback.
Failed to submit comment. Please try submitting again or contact us at the Health Unit.
Comment already submitted ...