Ticks carrying Lyme disease at significant risk level in West Island: Montreal Public Health

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The amount of black legged ticks carrying Lyme disease in the West Island has reached an alarming level. Montreal public health officials say residents in the area should be on high alert and take necessary steps to prevent exposure.

“The West Island, like some other regions also or areas in the south of Quebec, they switch to risk present to what we classified as risk significant,” said Dr. Noémie Savard, Montreal public health physician.

The risk level means that ticks are well established in the West Island and are reproducing in the area. The area currently has the highest alert level in Montreal according to the Institut de Santé Publique du Québec (INSPQ).

“So the rise of ticks and ticks carrying Lyme disease, and the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is related mostly, we think, to the climate and the climate change,” said Savard.

In 2016, there were 177 cases of Lyme disease reported in the province, since then the number of cases has grown exponentially with 500 cases recorded in 2019 and 274 cases in 2020.

Veterinarians have also noticed more dogs visiting them to get ticks removed or with tick transmitted diseases. They said as soon as the temperature hits four degrees Celsius, ticks are active, so early prevention is vital.

“We need to do prevention not only for the pet’s health, which is obviously very important, but also for our health, because if we don’t protect them, a lot of times they will bring in the ticks into the houses,” said Pierrefonds Animal Hospital Veterinarian Yasmine Raphael.

Beaconsfield’s Angell Woods’ tree shaded forest is a popular place for dog walking. Its environment is also a popular habitat for ticks.

Even with the rise in ticks, Angela Mocella and her dog Cricket are still going to walk in the area.

“It’s not going to stop me from taking my dog for a walk and I take precautions too. I check myself everyday,” she told Global News.