Programs and Services
Infectious Disease Prevention Program
KFL&A Public Health is mandated through the Health Protection and Promotion Act of Ontario to track and control the spread of infectious diseases in the KFL&A area. This includes over 50 communicable diseases that must be reported to KFL&A Public Health for follow-up by a public health nurse, infection control practitioner, or public health inspector.
Since 2006, members of our community have assisted public health in the passive surveillance of ticks by submitting these specimens for identification and testing. This data has helped us determine that KFL&A has an established population of blacklegged ticks which carry Borelia Burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. In 2013, 23% of tick specimens submitted to KFL&A Public Health were positive for B. Burgdorferi. Based on this information, we have determined that the KFL&A is a high risk area for Lyme disease.
KFL&A Public Health no longer requires tick submissions from the public. It is now more important to track the movement of tick populations which can only be done by collecting ticks in a systematic way. Active surveillance of Lyme disease will continue through seasonal "tick dragging", monitoring the number of human cases and tracking the number of emergency room visits and human disease patterns.
Effective immediately, KFL&A Public Health will no longer accept tick submissions for testing.
The testing of ticks is not used for the purposes of diagnosing Lyme disease, rather it is a tool for surveillance. Ticks can transmit infection only after being attached for more than 24 hours and that, rather than testing ticks, is the main criterion for deciding about preventive antibiotics.
Please refer to the links to the right for more information on Lyme disease, prophylaxis and treatment, and clinical Lyme disease case report forms.