By Mark McNeil
The Hamilton area is facing an infestation of brown dog ticks and health authorities are worried an influx of Lyme disease-causing ticks will follow.
“Lyme disease is on the radar,” says Susan Harding-Cruz, manager of the vector-borne disease program for Hamilton’s public health department. “We are on the lookout for black-legged ticks in Hamilton.”
Lyme disease is spread by black-legged ticks, which are prevalent in much of the United States and increasingly being found in southern parts of Canada over the past couple of decades.
In Ontario, the ticks are known to inhabit Long Point Provincial Park, Turkey Point Provincial Park, Rondeau Provincial Park, Point Pelee National Park, Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area, Wainfleet Bog Conservation Area and the St. Lawrence Islands National Park area.
But the Public Health Agency of Canada believes the ticks’ foothold in the province will expand because of warmer winters, migratory birds and mammals carrying them and other factors. Hamilton is listed by the agency as being on the cusp of a high to moderate risk of an influx in woodland areas.