Peel Public Health does not test ticks for Lyme disease during a coronavirus pandemic

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If you are bitten by a tick this spring, you cannot submit it to Peel Public Health for a test to see if it contains the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease.

The Caledon, Brampton and Mississauga health unit will not accept tick submissions for identification purposes due to the ongoing COVID-19 response.

However, the health unit will continue to educate the public about preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of Lyme disease and to communicate with health care providers about the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.

In addition, public health has stated that staff will continue to follow up on all positive laboratory reports of Lyme disease.

There are five 2019 tick submissions still in the lab.

“This does not pose a risk to the public because identification and testing of ticks is only done to determine where blacklegged ticks can be found,” said Dr. Lawrence Loh, Acting Health Officer for Peel adding that the public health test is not used for diagnosis or clinical treatment.

The health service has been monitoring ticks for several years as part of its plan to prevent vector-borne diseases.

In 2019, Peel Public Health reported that there was a case of Lyme disease acquired from a tick found in Caledon.

There were also 14 human travel-related cases – eight of them were people from Brampton, six from Mississauga.

Five ticks tested positive for the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease – three were found in Caledon, two in Mississauga.

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