Be Aware of the Insects!: Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus

June 16, 2011 | carolyn

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Deer Tick
Lyme disease in humans is caused by the bite of a tick infected by a bacterium normally carried by small animals such as mice, squirrels and birds.  Generally ticks attach themselves to humans who brush against tall grasses and bushes.  Several parks in Ontario as well as the north shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are places where blacklegged ticks are commonly found. If you are bitten by an infected tick you may experience the following symptoms:

  • -Fever
  • -Headache
  • -Muscle and joint pains
  • -Fatigue
  • -Skin rash

For more information read the Lyme Disease Fact Sheet from the Public Health Agency of Canada or Lyme Disease from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.



Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus spread the virus to humans through bites. West Nile season is from May to October, the traditional mosquito season.  The virus first appeared in Ontario in 2001.  Most people bitten by infected mosquitoes do not have any symptoms.  Mild symptoms include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • body aches
  • mild rash

Some people suffer more severe symptoms such as:

  • severe headache
  • high fever
  • stiff neck
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • muscle weakness and paralysis

If you experience any of these symptoms you should seek medical attention.

For more information read Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment from the Public Health Agency of Canada.  For information about how to protect yourself, read West Nile virus from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Check out the Library's recent books about Lyme disease for more information.  To see which branch has a copy of the book and to place a hold, click on the cover or title link;


The Lyme Disease Survival Guide 
Ending Denial 
Insights into Lyme Disease Treatment 
The Lyme Disease
Survival Guide
Ending Denial: the
Lyme Disease Epidemic
Insights into Lyme
Disease Treatment