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Global TV Edmonton, Canada, Ticks and Lyme Disease: what you need to know

 May 22, 2014

EDMONTON — With sunny weather and lush wilderness across Canada, many people are heading outdoors for camping, hiking or picnics in wooded areas. That’s also where a serious health risk could be lurking in the form of small, blood-sucking ticks.

These insects become infected once they’ve fed on mice, squirrels, birds or other small animals carrying the potent burgdorferi bacteria. The bacteria, which can cause Lyme disease, is present in about 20 per cent of black-legged ticks.

Of the 139 found in Alberta last year, one in five tested positive for the bacteria; and that number has health officials on alert.

“People are getting ticks anywhere — their backyards and the river valley. There doesn’t seem to be any pattern we can pick out,” said Daniel Fitzgerald, a laboratory technologist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

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