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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Health Unit Alerts Community of First Case of Human Lyme Disease for 2024

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Middlesex-London Health Unit is alerting the community that the year’s first human case of Lyme Disease has been diagnosed in an adult resident of Middlesex County.

Caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted though the bites of black-legged ticks (also known as deer ticks), the disease’s first symptoms are typically a bull’s eye rash, headache, fever or chills, fatigue and muscle and joint pain. Left untreated it can affect the joints, heart and nervous system resulting in long-term health effects.

“This case is significant, in part, because it was diagnosed much earlier in the year than we typically see Lyme Disease cases,” says Dr. Joanne Kearon, Associate Medical Officer of Health for the health agency. “With warming climates, ticks survive the winter. We’re therefore seeing ticks earlier, tick bites earlier, unfortunately Lyme Disease earlier than ever.”

Middlesex-London is an established risk area for black-legged ticks. For that reason, it is important for community members to protect themselves from ticks, and to contact their health care provider if they are bitten by a tick and develop symptoms. Antibiotic treatment is available and the sooner that treatment begins the better the chance of recovery.

Ticks are often found in wooded areas and long grasses. Outdoor enthusiasts can protect themselves by wearing long sleeves and long pants tucked into socks when walking in grassy or wooded areas. Insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin should be sprayed on clothing and exposed skin. Tick checks should be performed on both humans and animals after leaving areas where ticks may live.

“If you find a tick on a person’s body, remove it as soon as possible. Ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. Ticks removed from your body can be submitted to our team or to for identification. I encourage everyone who spends time outdoors to learn how to identify and remove a tick from your body by visiting our website,” adds Kearon.

Tags: First-Case-Of-Human-Lyme-Disease-For-2024