Enhanced surveillance of ticks to combat Lyme disease in southern New Brunswick

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick, federal government commit more money to fight Lyme disease'
New Brunswick, federal government commit more money to fight Lyme disease
WATCH ABOVE: The New Brunswick government is upping its efforts in the fight against Lyme disease. The province and the feds are partnering to beef up the surveillance and collection of black legged ticks that transmit the disease. As Andrew Cromwell reports, developments from the data collection will be share beyond New Brunswick – Jun 16, 2017

The New Brunswick and federal governments are pairing up in the continued battle against Lyme disease.

On Friday, both governments announced that $69,000  has been earmarked for enhanced surveillance and collection of black legged ticks — the insect from which the disease is contracted.

The money will be distributed over the next two years.

READ MORE: New tick species discovered in NB may result in increased risk of Lyme disease: professor

The collection will be done through active and passive surveillance. According to Medical experts, active surveillance is done by going out and finding the ticks in their natural habitat.

“Passive is if someone from the general public finds a tick and they bring it in to one of our regional public health offices and we’ll send that tick away and get it analyzed, ” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s acting Chief Medical Officer of Health.

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“The enhanced surveillance will be taking place in areas of southern New Brunswick already identified as risk areas for ticks, or hot spots.”

According to Russell, those hot spots include Charlotte County as well as parts of greater Saint John.

READ MORE: More ticks means an increase of Lyme disease across Canada — thanks to climate change

According to government officials, Lyme disease is a real and present danger in the province.

“I think there’s a lot of people that have come in contact with ticks with their pets,” said Rick Doucet, New Brunswick’s Agriculture Minister. “Family and friends that have been ill from it”.

There has been concern expressed over physicians comfort level with diagnosing Lyme disease. That is also being dealt with.

“We put together a Lyme disease survey to get a baseline understanding of what people know right now and are there gaps,” said Russell.

Officials say their goal is to raise awareness and education so that New Brunswickers can safely enjoy the great outdoors.

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