The Manitoba government has announced that it has joined the eTick platform for expert advice to help Manitobans determine their risk of Lyme disease.
“More and more Manitobans are exploring nature and the outdoors during the pandemic. While this is a safe, healthy way to connect during the pandemic, we also want people to pay attention to reduce their risk of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses,” said Manitoba Health and Senior Care Minister Heather Stefanson. “The eTick program will ensure people can access rapid tick identification and distribution maps, while enhancing the surveillance of tick species in Manitoba.”
Developed by Bishop’s University and funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Manitobans can use eTick when they find ticks on animals, humans or in various habitats. They can submit a picture to have the tick identified by experts, which will let them confirm if the tick they found belongs to a species capable of transmitting the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease.
In addition to learning what species of tick users have found, identified specimens are mapped to better outline the distribution and seasonality of the various tick species. This information will help Manitobans understand where and when ticks have been found in precise areas of Manitoba. A new mobile application has been developed to facilitate and streamline the submission of tick observations in Manitoba. It is now available for free download under the name eTick on the App Store and the Google Play Store. Users also still have the option of submitting their observations directly on the eTick website at https://www.etick.ca/.
Blacklegged ticks, which can carry anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Lyme disease, are most commonly found within and along the edge of forests and in areas with thick, woody shrubs and other vegetation. These ticks are typically found between April and November (from snowmelt through snowfall), with adults most active in the spring and fall months.
Stefanson reminded Manitobans that when outside, it is still important to practise physical distancing according to current COVID-19 public health guidelines. For more information, visit manitoba.ca.
To learn more about blacklegged ticks, tick disease and prevention, visit gov.mb.ca.