University News for May 23, 2012
An entomologist with the University of Manitoba warns populations of the tick that's capable of carrying the pathogen responsible for Lyme disease appears to have become established in multiple locations throughout southern Manitoba.
Light winter snow cover followed by an early spring contributed to an early emergence of ticks including the adult blacklegged tick, the tick that's capable of carrying the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease and anaplasmosis.
Dr. Terry Galloway, an entomology professor with the University of Manitoba, says we know that pathogen is present in the blacklegged tick population in Manitoba.
Clip-Dr. Terry Galloway-University of Manitoba:
As a result of surveillance activity that has gone on in the province for quite a long time now we are starting to see the establishment of blacklegged ticks across southern Manitoba.
There are a number of locations that are being investigated quite intensively and it appears that this tick which was at one time not so long ago considered to be persistent but a low risk right across southern Manitoba.
As a result of ticks being parachuted into the province on migrating birds, now we're finding populations that appear to be established right across southern Manitoba over as far as the Morden area and so forth.
It still has to be confirmed in many of these locations that the tick is established there but it certainly appears to be the case.
It's going to be really important that we watch the spread of this tick across the province to be able to advise people about the risk of encounter because, once the tick becomes established, we find that the numbers go up and it's quite likely that the prevalence of some of these pathogens will go up in those established populations as well.
Dr. Galloway says the important thing to remember is that it takes a while after the tick starts to feed before the pathogen is actually transmitted, so that means it's critical that you check yourself, your children and your pets at the end of each day and remove any ticks.
He says even if the tick is infected it may not yet have begun transmitting the pathogen so the risk of transmission at that point is really low.
For UniversityNews.Org, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
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