May 9, 2019 – The temperature is finally beginning to rise in Haldimand and Norfolk counties, and that means an increased risk of illnesses transmitted by mosquito and tick bites.

There are three potentially serious illnesses that are of particular concern this time of year: Lyme disease, West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis.

Lyme disease is spread by black-legged ticks. In 2018, there were six new risk areas identified in the region.

Five mosquito pools tested positive for West Nile virus last year, including sites in Cayuga, Dunnville, Simcoe and Caledonia, and four cases of eastern equine encephalitis were confirmed in Haldimand County in 2018.

“People should enjoy all the wonderful outdoor summer activities,” says Shanker

Nesathurai, Haldimand-Norfolk’s Medical Officer of Health. “But there are some things you can do to protect you and your family from what can become serious illness.”

The Health Unit recommends the following tips to avoid ticks and mosquitoes:

Ticks

  • Do daily full-body checks on yourself, children and pets
  • Shower within two hours of being outdoors
  • Pull your socks over your pant legs while in wooded areas

Mosquitoes

  • Use insect repellent while outdoors
  • Remove standing water from around your home
  • Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved clothing and pants when outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit will continue to monitor for the presence of insects carrying these diseases throughout the spring.

If you are concerned about a tick exposure or have been bitten by a tick that became engorged, or are experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease or West Nile virus, contact your health provider immediately.

For more information, visit hnhu.org or call 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623.