Calgary

Tick risk is growing in Alberta, warns Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is warning those heading outside this summer to be on the lookout for ticks, which can cause bacterial infections, including Lyme disease. 

Bites can cause serious infections, including Lyme disease

Ticks are generally found close to the ground and like to hide in shady areas. (AFP/Getty Images)

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is warning those heading outside this summer to be on the lookout for ticks, which can cause bacterial infections, including Lyme disease. 

Some species, including the blacklegged tick (a.k.a. deer tick), can infect humans and have been increasing in number alongside a warming climate. They can be found in parts of Alberta. 

Katelyn Ceh, the director of conservation with the Nature Conservancy in Alberta, says people shouldn't be afraid to go outside, but should take precautions. 

"Wear bug repellant containing DEET, long sleeves, light-coloured clothing, tuck everything in (including your pants into your socks), stay in the middle of trails, take a bath or shower after a hike and always check your clothes and body for ticks after a hike because they can be as small as a poppy seed," said Ceh in a news release.

Tick testing

The organization says ticks are usually found close to the ground, hiding in shady areas like tall grass. It recommends hikers stick to the middle of trails and sit on rocks, rather than grass, when taking a break.

It also says those who find ticks that have attached themselves to their skin should remove them with tweezers, ensuring they don't squash the insect, and recommend sending any live specimens to the Canada Public Health Agency for testing

Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics but should be dealt with as quickly as possible to ensure full recovery. 

The Nature Conservancy says there were just 144 cases of Lyme disease reported in 2009, a number that shot up to 2,025 in 2017.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now