A provincial program to try to get a handle on Lyme Disease and the critters that cause it is proving popular with the public.
'Submit a Tick' began in 2013 when Alberta Health asked people to send them ticks they had found on their skin, their clothing or their pets.
"In Alberta, out of the ticks we've tested, very very few of the ticks actually were positive for the bacteria that can cause Lyme Disease," reported Dr. Kristin Klein, Deputy Medical Officer of Health for Alberta Health Services Central Zone. "Out of the 2,700 ticks only 34 of the ticks that were found in Alberta actually had the bacteria."
A total of 147 black legged ticks from Alberta tested negative. The other ticks were other species or from outside the province.
It should be noted that Alberta Health Services only recognizes the black legged tick as a carrier of Lyme Disease, while other jurisdictions, especially in the USA and Europe, have found many more strains of the bacteria and the ticks that carry them.
"If people find ticks in the environment we ask that they submit them to either a first nations health centre or to an Alberta Health Service environmental public health office," recommended Klein. "There's some instructions about where those places are located on our website."
"People should check their skin to make sure they don't have any ticks that they've been bitten by, as well as their pets," she added. "Ticks can come in on pets and then spread to humans."