Blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks, can carry Lyme disease. Blacklegged ticks can be found in wooded areas and tall grass and often latch on to hikers and campers, with potentially serious health effects. (Victoria Arocho/Associated Press)

Lyme disease may be vastly under-detected in Canada


A new report by two researchers suggests there may be many more people suffering from Lyme disease than reporte.

The researchers from Mt Allison University in New Brunswick, and from the University of Calgary, said that unreliable blood tests are leading to misdiagnosing of cases.  Typical blood testing for the bacteria carried by black-legged ticks is unreliable particularly in early stages of the disease.

While the same tests are done in the U.S, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) recognises the limitation and upped their estimates by a factor of ten. Saying that the blood testing in Canada is less accurate, the researchers there could be as many as 30 times greater number of Lyme cases than is reported . The 22-page study was published in the journal Healthcare.

Black legged tick: Ticks are tiny at first but the body grows enormously from feeding.
(Patrick Callaghan/CBC)

Biologist and co-author Vett Lloyd of Mt Allison University, was herself infected with Lyme five years ago and had to leave the province to get adequate care.

The two researchers took existing data from the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the American Public Health service, along with case reportings of canine infection, and other peer reviewed scientific literature.

The Chronicle Herald mentions that Donna Lugar, director of the Nova Scotia branch of CanLyme, was surprised at the findings, but also notes that she communicates with hundreds of Nova Scotians every year who claim to have the disease but go undiagnosed and untreated.

To collect ticks for research data, white sheets are dragged through the brush. When the ticks detect passing movement they latch on thinking its a passing animal. Here researchers from the University of Ottawa hunt for ticks at a conservation this month area as they collect data for a three-year tick population study. (Robyn Miller)

About 20-30 per cent of black legged ticks carry the Lyme bacteria and researchers note that climate change is enabling the ticks to expand their range further into Canada.

In 1990, they were only reported in a very limited area in Ontario, but now can be found in southern to mid-regions throughout Ontario, Quebec and the maritime provinces, as well as in Manitoba and a small area of southern British Columbia.

There were some 1,479 reported cases of Lyme across Canada in 2017, almost a 50 per cent increase from the previous year.

Lyme symptoms include rashes, fevers, stiffness of joints, and if left untreated it can cause facial paralysis and compromise neurological function.

additional information-sources

Categories: Environment, Health, International
Tags: , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.


One comment on “Lyme disease may be vastly under-detected in Canada
  1. Avatar Dr.Kambites says:

    Highly underreported indeed. It is entering pandemic territory.