Quispamsis wants province to perform 'tick drag' in town

Quispamsis Town Council has voted to ask the province to perform a study for blacklegged ticks in the community.

Town to request tick survey as concern over Lyme Disease in community grows

Quispamsis Town Council has voted to ask the province to perform a study for blacklegged ticks in the community.

The survey, known as a tick drag, involves researchers pulling a cloth across the ground to collect deer ticks which are then sent away for testing.

Council wants to better understand the distribution of diseased ticks in the community. It also plans to request more hunting licences to control the deer herd.

Concern about Lyme disease is growing in the town, which has a dense deer population.

Quispamsis resident Anne Downey has twice found blacklegged ticks on her dog, Gus. That motivated her to participate in a Lyme Disease testing clinic — part of a Mount Allison University research project to see how widespread the disease is.

Downey says she was devastated to learn Gus was one of three dogs testing positive for the disease.

An additional testing clinic last month in Hampton showed one of the dogs tested positive for antibodies to Borrelia, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Borrelia is commonly transmitted to both dogs and humans through tick bites.

Hampton, Rothesay to make similar requests

"Gus is kind of like your canary in the mine. Gus has told us through this test that he is and has been bitten by a tick that carries Lyme disease and now has Lyme disease himself," said Downey.

Downey's dog is now on a month-long regime of antibiotics. She says everyone living in the Kennebecasis Valley should be aware of the possibility that ticks carrying Lyme Disease are in the area.

"It doesn't matter if you're mowing your lawn, if you're in your garden, if the kids are playing in the yard, the school field, the parks. We need to know what to watch for," said Downey.

"We're on a migratory bird route, that's how it starts. And we have an overabundance of deer, which are just massive hosts, and we have a number of animals and we have long grass.

"It doesn't matter where it is, we are prime candidates for that little beast to be here."

Hampton Coun. Bob Doucet heads the Kennebecasis Valley Regional Deer Committee. He says his town, and the Town of Rothesay will be asked to make similar requests to the province.

"If your dog has Lyme disease and  you've been suffering and sick and not been able to figure out why, odds are you have Lyme disease, right?" Doucet said.

A recent study conducted in New England found that for every six dogs infected, one human also had Lyme disease.

If left untreated, people bitten by an infected tick can develop arthritis, neurological and heart problems.