Tick on a hand. (Photo by Tomasz Klejdysz / iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Middlesex resident has region's first case of Lyme Disease of the year

The Middlesex London Health Unit is reporting its first confirmed human case of Lyme Disease of the year.

An adult in Middlesex County was diagnosed with the illness transmitted through black-legged tick bites.

"This case is significant, in part, because it was diagnosed much earlier in the year than we typically see Lyme Disease cases,” said Dr. Joanne Kearon, the health unit's associate medical officer of health. “With warming climates, ticks survive the winter. We’re therefore seeing ticks earlier, tick bites earlier, unfortunately Lyme Disease earlier than ever.”

The Middlesex-London region is an established risk area for black-legged ticks, according to the health unit. The small bug, also known as deer ticks, are often found in wooded areas and long grass. People venturing into those areas are advised to use insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin and wear long sleeves and long pants tucked into socks to avoid bites. Tick checks should also be performed on both humans and animals after leaving areas where ticks may live.

“If you find a tick on a person’s body, remove it as soon as possible," said Kearon. "Ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. Ticks removed from your body can be submitted to our team or to etick.ca for identification. I encourage everyone who spends time outdoors to learn how to identify and remove a tick from your body by visiting our website."

Symptoms of Lyme Disease include a bull’s eye rash, headache, fever or chills, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain. Left untreated it can affect the joints, heart, and nervous system resulting in long-term health effects, the health unit stated.

Anyone who is bitten by a tick or develops symptoms should seek treatment from a health care provider as antibiotics are available. According to the health unit, the sooner that treatment begins the better the chance of recovery.

Read More Local Stories