*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Northwestern health unit is not accepting or identifying ticks in person.
Tick-borne diseases occur when a person is infected with an illness from the bite of an infected tick. In northwestern Ontario there are several species of ticks but only one main species, Ixodes scapularis, is responsible for spreading tick-borne diseases to humans. This tick is commonly known as the deer tick or the blacklegged tick. Other tick species, such as the more common wood tick, are not known to pass illnesses to humans.
The Northwestern Health Unit tracks medically confirmed tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease. We also perform active tick surveillance to know where ticks are in our region and if they are carrying tick-borne disease, such as Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis. In 2018 the Kenora region was added as an estimated risk area for Lyme disease by Public Health Ontario. Rainy River and the surrounding area was identified as an estimated risk area for Lyme disease in 2013.
Tick identification cards are available from the health unit that shows the difference between wood ticks, and the blacklegged (deer) tick that can carry tick-borne disease. You can also get a 'tick kit' that includes information and a tool to help remove ticks that are stuck in the skin.