Now that the summer months have begun, a number of black-legged ticks have been found in southeastern Manitoba and a spokesperson for Manitoba Health says residents should be on the lookout for these disease-carrying ticks.
Dr. Richard Rusk is a Medical Officer of Health For Manitoba Health. He notes to monitor tick populations, they send out teams to drag a cloth through the bush and count the number and type of ticks that are present. He adds they also rely on submissions from residents.
"For the last year we have also got it online and you can take a picture of the tick and fill out a form online and you send that in and within two or three days we will actually give you information about that tick. That is one way of collecting data because we know where it is and what type of tick it is and then obviously that is a lot more rapid then if that is just going through the mail."
Dr. Rusk says if it turns out to be a black-legged tick you will be asked to send it in to be tested for diseases and will possibly be instructed to visit a doctor. He says they do plan on doing active surveillance in southeastern Manitoba this year but will most likely wait unit fall.
"This time of year those black-legged ticks are still in a nymphal phase so they are teenagers, they are not babies, they are not larvae, they are nymphs so they have grown up a little bit. Even as nymphs they are still the size of a poppy seed so it is really difficult to find any so we do the bulk of our surveillance in the fall."
Shantel Logeot is a resident of St. Pierre who says she was bitten by a small tick in May of 2017 and has been dealing with a tick-borne illness called Anaplasmosis since then.
"A couple of days later I am getting this fever and I am getting this flu that is lasting and lasting and lasting and then I just wasn’t the same after that. About 3 months later, I had tremors, they started in my hands, they spread to my head and next thing I know I woke up one morning and I couldn’t walk."
Legeot says she was confined to a wheelchair and even lost her ability to talk for a while. She says thanks to a variety of treatments including naturopathic techniques, she has largely recovered. She encourages anyone who feels even remotely sick after being bitten by a tick to see a doctor immediately.
Dr. Rusk encourages residents of the Southeast to take precautionary measures such as wearing tick repellent, long pants and socks, and checking thoroughly for ticks after being in the bush. He adds if you throw your clothes in the dryer on a hot cycle it will kill any ticks that remain on them.