Manitoba Health urges residents to familiarize themselves with how to deal with and prevent infection during peak tick season.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and health officials encourage Manitobans to take preventative actions against the black-legged tick, which carries the disease. 

In a news release, the Government of Manitoba shares ways on how to reduce the risk of tick-bourne infections.

  • applying an appropriate tick repellent on exposed skin and clothing, following label directions;
  • wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts;
  • staying to the centre of walking trails;
  • inspecting themselves, children and pets after spending time outdoors;
  • removing ticks as soon as possible from people and pets; and
  • keeping grass and shrubs around homes cut short to create drier environments that are less suitable for black-legged tick survival.

The government has a partnership with eTick, which is a not-for-profit and free program available to everyone, that identifies and monitors ticks reported around all of Canada.

Jade Savage, a professor at Bishop's University, which developed the program, said eTick was created with the idea of exchanging information to the public and gathering data.

"It's actually more of an exchange of service. So, I teach medical entomology where I work and over the last 15 years people were coming to see me a lot with ticks and they found that there were very little resources," says Savage. "When you surf the web, especially if you're anxious you got bitten by a tick and you're worried about Lyme disease and many things, you will rapidly be drowned in the information that may not be relevant to you depending on where you live."

There are 35 known species that can be found in Canada, but not all of them can be found in the same province. That is why eTick gathers data from every province to let locals know what kind of ticks they can expect to find.

"In Manitoba, the American Dog tick (also known as the wood tick) is by far the most common one, like, I think 90 per cent of our submissions for the province will be the American Dog tick," says Savage. 

Manitoba Health says on their website, "other tick species, such as the more common wood tick, are not effective vectors of disease-causing agents in Manitoba."

If people have a tick and would like to know how to safely and fully remove it, they can report it by visiting the website. To learn more about black-legged ticks, tick-borne diseases and prevention, people can visit the government website.