Tick Surveillance Update
Tick Surveillance in Alberta
Every year Alberta Agriculture and Forestry continues their Surveillance of Ticks on Companion Animals program. The newest data is from 2017, as the 2018 report is still being compiled.
Lyme disease is cause by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in North America and can be carried by a certain species of tick called the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis). Lyme disease can affect humans, wildlife, and domestic animals. All ticks received by the surveillance program that are possible carriers of B. burgdorferi are further tested for the presence of the bacteria to understand the risk of Lyme disease in Alberta.
2016 Tick Recovery
The amount of ticks recovered from various companion animals did not change much from 2016 to 2017.
2017 Tick Recovery
Number of ticks submitted: 2016: 1930 ticks from 1323 animals
2017: 1942 ticks from 1356 animals
Travel outside of Alberta: 2016: of 1323 submissions, 473 had traveled outside Alberta, 764 had not left Alberta, and 86 had unknown travel history.
2017: of 1356 submissions, 413 had traveled outside Alberta, 857 had not left Alberta, and 86 had unknown travel history.
Ticks identified as possible carriers of B. burgdorferi: 2016: 224
Positive testing for B. burgdorferi: 2016: 40 of 224 ticks (~18%)
2017: 50 of 288 ticks (~17%)
Local presence of B. burgdorferi positive ticks submitted
Edmonton 2016: 2 2017: 5
Sherwood Park 2016: 2 2017: 2
Leduc 2016: 0 2017: 1
St. Albert 2016: 2 2017: 2
Unsure of location, but somewhere in Alberta
2016: 35 2017:42
In general the tick population is on the rise, but fortunately in Alberta the risk of being bitten by a blacklegged tick is low. The risk of being bitten by a blacklegged tick infected with B. burgdorferi, the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease is even lower.