I was surprised to see our MPP, Dawn Gallagher Murphy, tweeting about fire hazards while surrounded by leafy vegetation which could easily harbour black legged ticks, always ready to pounce when they see bare skin. They carry Lyme disease which, in rare instances, can result in death.
As a Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health I thought Dawn would be alive to the risks of wandering into the woods when dressed for the beach.
The health experts tell us we can protect ourselves by
“wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants tucked into your socks, and closed-toed shoes.”
I learn that most symptoms of Lyme disease in humans usually appear between 3 and 30 days after a bite from an infected blacklegged tick. There is a painfully long list of symptoms which includes headache, stiff neck, muscle aches and joint pains, fatigue, spasms, numbness or tingling and, frighteningly, facial paralysis.
Dawn did her piece to camera in the Township of McMurrich and Monteith which lies within the North Bay Parry Sound Health District east of the town of Parry Sound and west of Huntsville.
The Health District up there says twelve human cases of Lyme disease have been reported to them in the last five years.
“As of July 26, 2023, 99 ticks have been sent for identification. Ninety one results received, with 42 as blacklegged and one as ixodes kingi. Thirty-seven have tested negative for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.”
I like the sound of all those negative tests but, unfortunately, in recent years the areas affected by black legged ticks have been relentlessly expanding.
3,000 cases since 2021
Infected blacklegged ticks can be found across the province. And I read there have been over 3,000 cases of Lyme disease in Ontario since 2021. Oh dear!
We need Dawn to stay healthy so she can continue to warn us about the perils we face in our daily lives – and to thank, on our behalf, all those who keep us safe.
The last thing I want is for Dawn to wake up with a stiff neck, feeling fatigued.