Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans by a bite from a blacklegged tick. Ticks stick to skin and feed on blood. A tick that carries the bacteria can only transmit Lyme disease after it has filled itself with blood, which takes at least 36 hours.
In Nova Scotia, only the blacklegged tick carries the bacteria that causes Lyme disease and not all blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria.
Blacklegged ticks have been found across the province. They survive best in areas that provide a moist habitat. Wooded or forested areas are very suitable as the trees provide shade and leaf litter ground cover for protection.
In Nova Scotia there are six areas where blacklegged ticks carrying the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease are known to be established:
From 2002 to 2012, there have been 171 cases of Lyme disease reported in Nova Scotia . It is believed that 88 per cent of these cases were contracted within the province.
The risk of contracting Lyme disease remains low.
Remember: When enjoying the outdoors it's important to do so safely and to protect from ticks.
The Department of Health and Wellness recommends protecting yourself and your family from Lyme disease and ticks by following the advice outlined in this brochure.
For more information on reducing the number of ticks around your home through landscaping techniques read the handbook
These pages on landscape management were reproduced with permission from the Tick Management Handbook: An integrated guide for homeowners, pest control operators, and public health officials for the prevention of tick associated disease (revised edition, Fall 2007) by Kirby C. Stafford III, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
Please note that this is an American document and not all of the information is applicable to Nova Scotia.
Another disease carried by blacklegged ticks is Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis (HGA) which has been found infrequently in blacklegged ticks in NS. However, to date no human infections have been reported in this province.
Crown copyright 2011, Province of Nova Scotia, all rights reserved.
Page last updated 2013-06-06.