In the News: Zika Virus and Lyme Disease

In the News: Zika Virus and Lyme Disease

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Over the last few months, there has been a lot of attention and talk around the Zika virus. It is a virus carried and transmitted by mosquitoes and it has recently been confirmed to cause microcephaly in the children of women who were exposed to the virus while pregnant. Many people are concerned about the virus, especially since there is currently no vaccine to prevent it and no medicine to treat it.

The Zika virus is carried by certain types of mosquitoes, which “are not native to Ontario”. While the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus are not native to Ontario, there are species of ticks in Ontario that can spread Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is an inflammatory infection, which humans can contract through tick bites. The ticks can transmit bacteria to humans that can cause Lyme Disease. The number of people who are contracting and suffering from Lyme Disease has been rising in North America over the last few years.

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Lyme Disease has also been identified as endemic in southern parts of Ontario. The symptoms of Lyme Disease can be similar to flu symptoms, including fever, muscle aches, headache, and nausea. Another potential symptom is a rash, which can look like a bull’s eye. However, according to the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (CanLyme), most people will not develop a rash and if they do, the rash will not necessarily look like a bull’s eye. There are strategies you can implement to try to prevent the likelihood of tick bites. You can get more information by visiting the websites of Public Health Ontario and CanLyme.

Take steps to protect yourself if you are traveling or spending time in the wilderness/outdoors. Find out if there are any health and safety concerns for the area you are planning on travelling to and whether there are any tips or strategies to help prevent exposure or infection.overuse, so give it a day to rest – or at least switch gears!

Sources: The Globe and Mail, CBC

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