Lyme ticks spread in Bedford

Deer ticks may be spreading to a larger area of Bedford, N.S., than was previously thought, according to MLA Kelly Regan.

MLA warns residents as new case confirmed

Deer ticks may be spreading to a larger area of Bedford, N.S., than was previously thought, says MLA Kelly Regan.

The tick carries a parasite that can cause Lyme disease, a condition that has affected several residents who live near Admiral's Cove Park.

Last week, a case of a deer tick, also known as a blacklegged tick, with Lyme disease was confirmed several kilometres away on Doyle Street and Regan is warning residents to take precautions.

"On the street affected, I went door to door with a note from me and with the brochure that the province had put out on Lyme disease, just letting people know that yes, a tick was found on your street and these are the precautions you should take," she said.

"The people who were home were really appreciative of the fact that somebody was letting them know."

Nova Scotia's Health Promotion and Protection Department lists four areas known to have blacklegged tick populations:

Pictou County — Melmerby Beach, Egerton, Kings Head and Pine Tree.

Lunenburg County — Blue Rocks, Garden Lots, Heckmans Island, First Peninsula.

Halifax County — Admirals Cove in Bedford

Shelburne County — Gunning Cove

The child on whom the tick was found appears to have no symptoms of the disease.

Regan said concerned people should check for ticks on their children or dogs.

Painful symptoms

Lyme disease is a condition that shows up between three and 30 days after the victim is bitten by an infected tick. It gives sufferers a rash followed by symptoms such as fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint pain and swollen lymph nodes.

If left untreated, the disease can progress to a second phase, which can last several months. Symptoms in the second phase include migraines, weakness, multiple skin rashes, painful or stiff joints, abnormal heartbeat and extreme fatigue.

It is highly unlikely affected people will die, but they  may suffer symptoms such as chronic arthritis and neurological symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, numbness and paralysis.

Efforts to kill the parasite by setting up bait stations for deer have been discussed by the Halifax Regional Council since spring but are not in place.

The deer, which can spread the ticks, would be sprayed with a chemical that would act like a flea collar on a dog.

The chemical used to kill the ticks needs federal approval.

There have been at least 48 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Nova Scotia since 2002, with 25 per cent of them reported just last year.

People usually pick up ticks when they brush against them while walking in the woods. Experts recommend staying on clear trails and avoiding deep bush.

Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants tucked into socks can also keep ticks out.