Manitoba Identifies Expanded Lyme Disease Risk Areas

By Brian Schultz

Blacklegged Ticks
Adult female blacklegged tick at various stages of engorgement. (GOV.MB.CA)

The province has identified six areas with an increased risk of Lyme disease.

Manitoba Health on Wednesday warned the areas were discovered through the annual blacklegged tick surveillance program. The risk of Lyme disease transmission is greatest where blacklegged ticks are most commonly found.

The six Lyme disease risk areas are Manitoba’s southeast corner (where the border meets Ontario and Minnesota and expanding north into Moose Lake Provincial Park), the Pembina Valley region, eastern Assiniboine region, St. Malo region, Vita/Arbakka region, and the Richer/Ste. Genevieve area, which is located east of Winnipeg and just outside the Agassiz and Sandilands provincial forests.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can start about three days to one month after a tick bite, often with an expanding rash which then fades. Early symptoms can also include headache, stiff neck, muscle aches or fatigue, fever, chills and swollen lymph nodes. Lyme disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics and treatment is most successful in the early stages of infection.

Since Lyme disease became nationally reportable in 2009, 59 confirmed or probable cases have been reported to Manitoba Health. Nine of these cases were reported in 2013.