A New Brunswick biologist says the number of ticks carrying Lyme disease in the province continues to rise and people should be on alert.
Vett Lloyd, who has been collecting samples of blacklegged ticks from veterinarians and pet owners for the past two years, says she's received six times as many this year.
It appears the ticks are not dying off during the winter any more and many of them are testing positive for the bacterial infection, said Lloyd, a professor at Mount Allison University in Sackville.
'There are a couple areas already known to be a problem, particularly Grand Manan, but we're seeing infected ticks everywhere and about the same rate.' —Biologist Vett Lloyd
In addition, the presence of infected ticks no longer appears to be localized, she said.
"There are a couple areas already known to be a problem, particularly Grand Manan, but we're seeing infected ticks everywhere and about the same rate," said Lloyd.
"It looks like the ticks have spread throughout the province. The infected ticks are establishing themselves, so everyone should be careful."
Lloyd says no matter where in New Brunswick people live, they should be checking themselves and their pets for ticks after spending time outdoors.
Any ticks found can be sent to the Mount Allison University lab for testing, she said.
People can help protect themselves from ticks by wearing pants and long sleeves and using insect repellant with DEET.
If left untreated, people bitten by an infected tick can develop arthritis, neurological and heart problems.