Scientists warn to look out for increasing Lyme disease cases in Saskatchewan

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Scientists say cases of Lyme disease carried by some ticks are on the rise in Canada.

While the most common Lyme disease carrying species — black legged ticks — are more often found in eastern provinces, experts say the effects of climate change mean substantially more ticks are found each year in Saskatchewan.

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“Warmer weather is allowing these ticks to expand northwards and so that’s why Lyme disease has become such a big problem in Canada,” said University of Saskatchewan researcher Maarten Voordouw. “144 cases [of Lyme disease in Canada] were reported in 2006 and then 10 years later we’re now at 2000 cases.”

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Owner of Churchill Dog Groomers in Saskatoon Jovi Wagner said she’s already done a fair number of tick removals, despite cooler spring temperatures.

“This time of year we see the majority of them on farm dogs but the city dogs are starting to get them,” she said. “A friend of mine just pulled 15 ticks off her dog after a 10-minute walk.”

Wagner recommends looking for a preventative medication and checking your pet after each walk.

“There’s always a risk when your dog has them,” she said. “They can transfer to humans. You just have to watch and make sure you check yourself over.”

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Canadians heading outdoors this summer are urged to look out for ticks

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Anyone who finds a tick this year during their outdoor adventures can take a photo and upload it to an online database.

“Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan will identify the tick species,” Voordouw said. “At the same time you’ll get information about the risk of tick-borne diseases.”

The data will give researchers a better scope of the issue in different areas of the province and perhaps give you a little peace of mind on your next camping trip.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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