As if COVID-19 were not enough, several municipalities on the South Shore are classified in the red zone as being at high risk for the spread of Lyme disease.
As of October 7, Quebec had 207 cases of the disease, including about fifty in Montérégie.
The map of the Department of Public Health of Montérégie indicates that Longueuil, Boucherville and Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville are among others at high risk and endemic. The many wooded areas of these cities largely explain their red classification.
Bishop’s University in Estrie has developed an interactive map which lists Lyme disease cases by municipality. According to the most recent data available, there are 12 cases in Saint-Bruno, 4 cases in Longueuil, 2 cases in Boucherville and 1 in Saint-Hubert.
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by spirochete bacteria of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex, which is spread by the bite of an infected tick. The disease can produce clinical manifestations of the skin, neurology, joints, heart and eyes.
Several species of ticks are present in Quebec. However, the only species that can transmit Lyme disease there is the Ixodes scapularis tick, also known as the “deer tick” or “blacklegged tick”. These ticks are found in woodlands, shrubs, tall grasses, and clumps of dead leaves. Ticks have three stages of development: larva, pupa and adult. At each of these stages, the tick must feed on the blood of animals or humans to move on to the next stage. Thus, they try to cling to potential hosts within their reach.
Text by François Laramée, Local Journalism Initiative, La Relève