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Toronto, Canada: Prevention and understanding key to dealing with Lyme disease in Ontario

Aug. 11, 2016, East York Mirror by Tara Hatherly

Canadian government’s framework on Lyme disease in the works

As the number of Canadians with Lyme disease continues to climb, Canada is developing a federal framework for dealing with the issue.

The framework will focus on guidelines for identifying and treating Lyme disease, tracking infection rates and their economic impact, and developing standardized educational materials for public health providers.

In Ontario, Lyme disease is spread through bites from infected blacklegged ticks, also called deer ticks. In May, Toronto Public Health held a press conference in Morningside Park to discuss the city’s growing blacklegged tick population and warn residents to protect from bites.

Along with Morningside Park, Rouge Park and Algonquin Island have been identified as areas where the ticks are most likely to be found in Toronto. Ticks from Rouge Park have tested positive for Lyme-disease-causing bacteria. First identified in Toronto in 2013, blacklegged ticks, which can’t fly or jump, migrate by attaching to birds and other animals, so they can be found outside known areas as well.

As part of the federal framework, there was a public consultation in June 2015 and a conference in Ottawa this May. Jim Wilson, president of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, was one of the conference chairs.

“I hope the end result will be…

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