A rise in the number of ticks carrying Lyme disease in southeastern New Brunswick has biologists looking for samples.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection often transmitted by an infected tick and causing muscle pain, heart palpitations and nerve damage.

Dr. Vett Lloyd says the provincial norm is for 10 to 15 per cent of ticks to carry Lyme disease.

But a study of ticks in the Sackville area found about 40 per cent were testing positive.

Now Lloyd is setting her sights on the other parts of the province.

"We started our study focusing on the southeastern part of the province. We've just started extending our study to the north," Lloyd said.

"So we've had one or two samples, and in fact they have tested positive but that's our sum total so far. It's hard to say what the risk factor is for Lyme disease in the north part of the province."

Lloyd is asking people, especially those north of Fredericton and Moncton, to send any ticks they find on themselves or their pets to either the Mount Allison University lab or to their local vet.

Shipping a tick:

  • Container should be large enough to accommodate the submitted specimen without damaging it.
  • Container should be made of rigid plastic (never use glass) to ensure the tick is not damaged during shipment; and have a lid or top that fastens securely. The lid can also be taped to ensure the lid is not dislodged during shipping.
  • Common household containers that make good collection vials include film canisters and pill bottles. Paper towel moistened with tap water, should be placed in the collection vial to cushion the specimen during shipping and to maintain the quality of the specimen.

Live ticks survive better in a humid environment and dead ones are less prone to breakage under these conditions, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.