Black-legged tick positive for Lyme disease bacteria detected in NWT

News Type: 
Advisories

YELLOWKNIFE – 14 December 2023. The Chief Public Health Officer is issuing a public health advisory related to the identification of a black-legged tick in NWT that was found and tested positive for the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease.

On October 2nd, 2023, an adult female black-legged tick was found on a pet dog in the Fort Simpson area, which had recently arrived from an endemic southern province. The subsequent positive test was reported to our office in December. It is unclear whether this was locally acquired.

This is the first time a positive tick carrying this bacterium has been found in NWT. Lyme disease can cause fatigue, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and skin rash. No human cases of locally occurring Lyme disease have been reported within NWT.

The risk of acquiring Lyme disease from a tick is highly related to travel to southern parts of Canada or the USA, Europe, and temperate regions of Asia. The risk is higher when involved in outdoor activities such as camping, walking, and hiking in those areas. Ticks can also be found in urban parks and gardens. It is important to take precautions against tick bites when you are outside of the NWT.

  • If you find a tick on your body or are bitten by one, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
  • If you find a tick on your pet, remove it safely, submit it, and discuss prevention or follow-up options with a veterinarian.
  • Contact your local ECC Office to submit the tick for identification and testing.

In the NWT, you can also use the eTick app on your smartphone or visit www.eTick.ca. This service helps you identify ticks quickly and for free. This program helps keep track of the types of ticks in Canada and assesses the risk of getting tick-related diseases in the NWT.

The Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Environment and Climate Change have surveillance systems to monitor all types of ticks in the NWT that are uncommon or can cause Lyme disease. For more information on Tick-Borne Diseases, please visit the Environmental Health website.

 

For more information, contact:

Jeremy Bird
Manager Communications
Health and Social Services
Jeremy_Bird@gov.nt.ca