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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.  

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.

Geography:

 

Burden:

 

Lyme disease is designated as a disease of public health significance in Ontario. Suspected or confirmed cases of Lyme disease you encounter in your practice are reportable to local public health under the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act and must be communicated to SMDHU using the reporting form linked below.


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. eTick.ca is a public image-based tick identification platform that can quickly and accurately identify tick species.

Local:  

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

Provincial:

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

National: 

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

United states:

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

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