Saskatchewan health officials are warning residents that Lyme disease is a possibility in the province, despite only three confirmed cases since 2008.
Doctor Denise Werker is the province’s Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer.
She said the black legged tick can be brought into the province in various ways, such as on a migrating bird, or people and their pets that have visited locations where the disease carrying insect is prevalent .
The insect has also been found in Manitoba, which is concerning according to Werker, as deer and other animals crossing into Saskatchewan have a real possibility of carrying in the infected insects.
Doctor Werker said the province actively surveys ticks to see if black legged ticks in the province are infected.
She added over the last nine years or so 21,000 ticks have been collected, and only a small number were the black legged tick.
“Of those 21,000 ticks only 50 have been the black legged tick ,which is the tick that carries Lyme disease. Of those 50 black legged ticks only four were infected with borrelia burgdorferi which is the organism that causes Lyme disease,” Werker said.
Doctor Werker also told reporters black legged ticks can be identified by their reddish brown appearance and their substantially smaller size than the common wood tick.