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Lyme disease cases in Canada have skyrocketed over the past 14 years: health agency

More than 3,000 cases reported in 2021 – up from only 144 in 2009

July 25, 2023  By Turf & Rec

NYS IPM Program photo

The incidence of Lyme disease in Canada has risen sharply in recent years. The Public Health Agency of Canada reports the number of confirmed cases in the country reached 3,147 in 2021 – up substantially from 144 cases in 2009.

The main culprits of tick bites, which spread the disease to humans, are the black-legged tick, or deer tick. The infected insects cling to high grass or brush and then attach themselves to people as they make contact with the long vegetation. Ticks tend to migrate to such places on the body as the groin, armpit or scalp, releasing the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi into the individual’s bloodstream.

If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause such medical disorders as inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, facial palsy and swollen joints. Ticks must be attached to the human body for about 36 hours before releasing the bacterium.

Although antibiotics can cure most cases, patients can still be left experiencing pain, fatigue and cognitive difficulties.


A vaccine is being developed by Pfizer and Valneva – now in the third phases of testing – that has shown promise in creating antibodies that reportedly last up to six months.


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