Lyme disease prevention just got easier thanks to a new website that allows local residents to submit photos of ticks they find and receive confirmation if it belongs to the species that carry Lyme bacteria.
“Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, so the first step is always species identification when a tick is discovered,” explained Wanda Tonus, Public Health Inspector. “This website makes it easy for residents to determine if they’ve found a blacklegged tick, the only species that carries the bacteria. Then they can then submit the insect to Peterborough Public Health for testing to see if it’s infected with Lyme disease.”
The eTick website www.etick.ca was originally developed in Quebec by Bishop’s University, and is set to launch in Ontario this month. It allows anyone with a cell phone to snap a photo of a tick and upload it directly to the website to receive a species identification. Once successfully submitted, the results will be available within 48 hours. Real-time mapping of tick submissions is also shown on the website.
If the tick is identified as the blacklegged species, residents are encouraged to bring it in to Peterborough Public Health as soon as possible. Place the tick in a sealed container or ziploc bag and bring it to Client Services on the third floor of 185 King St., Peterborough. Last year Peterborough Public Health received 195 tick submissions, with 95 confirmed as the blacklegged species. Of these 95, seven tested positive for Lyme disease, however only one of these positive ticks was acquired locally.
A tick can be submitted to Peterborough Public Health Monday to Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information on tick submission or general inquiries about ticks please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca or call 705-743-1000. KG