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Province of Manitoba issues a tick alert


As temperatures rise in Manitoba, health officials are urging the public to stay vigilant against tick bites and the diseases they may carry.
Manitoba Health Warns of Tick-Borne Diseases as Tick Season Arrives

By: Winnipeg Tribune Staff Writer


Winnipeg, May 09, 2024 - Manitoba Health, Seniors and Long-Term Care is urging Manitobans to remain vigilant about tick encounters as the province heads into prime tick activity season. The public is cautioned particularly against the blacklegged tick, also known as the deer tick, which is capable of transmitting several serious diseases including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Powassan virus disease. These tick-borne illnesses are of significant concern, especially to older adults, young children, and individuals with weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions.


Public health officials emphasize the importance of seeking medical advice within 72 hours of removing a tick if it is identified as a blacklegged tick and was either attached for 36 hours or more, or was engorged. This timely consultation can help prevent the onset of Lyme disease.


Distinguishing between the harmful blacklegged tick and the more common wood tick, which does not transmit diseases in Manitoba, is crucial for proper prevention. Blacklegged ticks can be identified by their red-orange bodies, black legs, and a distinctive black spot on their back. They are smaller than wood ticks, about the size of a sesame seed. In contrast, wood ticks are larger, brownish, with white markings on their back.


As snow recedes and temperatures rise, tick activity is expected to increase, particularly during spring and fall. Health officials advise the public to follow several preventive measures to reduce the risk of tick bites:


  • Apply tick repellent to both skin and clothing according to product instructions.

  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, tucking them in to create barriers against ticks.

  • Stick to the center of trails when walking in wooded or grassy areas.

  • Conduct thorough checks on yourself, children, and pets after outdoor activities.

  • Remove any attached ticks promptly with tweezers.

  • Maintain lawns and shrubs to minimize tick-friendly environments.


Additionally, residents can submit photos of ticks to www.etick.ca for expert identification to determine if they are from a species that transmits diseases. More information and visual guides to identify ticks available at www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/cdc/tickborne/about.html.


With milder winters and altering weather patterns, ticks are expanding their geographical range within the province, posing an increased risk particularly in southern Manitoba.

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