July 19, 2011 1:25 pm

Alberta ticks test positive for Lyme disease

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CALGARY – Albertans are being urged to be wary of ticks that cause Lyme disease.

Alberta Health says so far this year, five of the insects have tested positive for the bacteria that causes the disease.

The ticks were discovered on pets in the Calgary and Edmonton areas.

Bacteria carrying ticks have been detected in Alberta each year since 2007; however, the province says there have been no reported human cases of the disease since 2008.

There have been approximately 20 human cases since 1989 but some doctors believe there are many more and question Alberta’s methods of testing.

Early symptoms of Lyme disease include a red circular rash, fever, chills, fatigue, headaches and swollen lymphnodes.

Dr. Andre Corriveau, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, says preventing bites is the best defence against Lyme disease.

People are being urged to wear insect repellent and cover up when walking in tall grass, woods or brush.

Lyme disease causes neurological and muscular problems, while more serious cases can lead to recurrent meningitis, heart problems and arthritis.

Veterinarians say it’s important that pet owners look for ticks on their animals especially after visiting areas where ticks live, such as grassy fields and wooded areas.

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