University News for June 15, 2012
An entomologist with the University of Manitoba reports the range of established blacklegged tick populations appears to be expanding in southern Manitoba.
The blacklegged tick is responsible for the transmission of the pathogens that cause Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and other infections.
Since the early 1990's the University of Manitoba has been cooperating with Manitoba Health and the National Microbiology Lab in offering a passive surveillance program under which the public is invited to submit ticks to the University of Manitoba for identification and blacklegged ticks are then sent to the National Microbiology Lab where they are tested for the presence of pathogens.
Dr. Kateryn Rochon, an assistant professor of entomology with the University of Manitoba, reports the numbers of submissions continue to rise.
Clip-Dr. Kateryn Rochon-University of Manitoba:
In 1996 a total of about 110 ticks were submitted to the program.
Only 16 of them were blacklegged ticks.
This year so far we're not really in peak adult season and we have over 80 blacklegged ticks that have been submitted and by the end of the year I'm expecting probably around 500.
Last year we had over 400 submissions for 2011.
The numbers of blacklegged ticks have increased every year since the program has started.
There's a couple of things that for this year could be at play.
We've had a very mild winter and so survival is greater.
There might be more places were the populations are established and so there's locations where establishment has been confirmed.
There's areas that are still under investigation.
But the ticks that we're finding this year, it seems that there's possible establishment as far west as Killarney actually.
This one still needs to be investigated but that's as far west as we think they may be established.
Dr. Rochon says the numbers vary from year to year but generally between 10 and 15 percent of the blacklegged ticks tested have been positive for the pathogen that causes Lyme disease.
For UniversityNews.Org, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
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