British Columbia Sun

High-risk places for ticks in B.C. emphasized in a new online map


Key takeaways: 

  • As the climate warms, the risk rises of bites and potential infection with bacteria that cause Lyme illness.
  • An adult black-legged tick can have the bacteria that induce Lyme disease.

It’s the season to begin being careful about ticks and Lyme illness, and this year the B.C. The Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has founded an interactive map to help people consider their risk of being bitten.

As the climate warms and people begin trekking more into tick habitat, the public health arm of the regional government has made a map where users can enter their address and find out if they are in a high-risk area for facing an infected insect.

The map, which is now available online, presently shows people are at the most significant risk on the South Coast and in the valleys of the southern Interior.

The bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi induces Lyme diseaseand in British Columbia, the western black-legged tick Ixodes pacificus poses the most significant danger of carrying it. The greatest risk of tick bites happens during the spring and summer.

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The Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has founded an interactive map to help people consider their risk of being bitten

Janet Sperling, president of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, says the map is a wake-up buzz, mainly for people who thought the risk was lower than elsewhere in the nation.

“It gets home that there is a chance of Lyme disease across B.C,” said Sperling. Ticks stay in tall grass and forested regions and latch on to people or animals as they pass by. They burrow partway into the skin, bite, extract blood, and drop off. 

According to Thompson Rivers University teacher Rob Higgins, an entomologist who researches ticks, less than one percent of western black-legged ticks gathered in B.C. and tested by specialists were infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme infection.

But Higgins said approximately 12 to 15 new cases of Lyme illness are reported in B.C. every year, and, of these, the majority are contracted on the coast.

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