Health officials in York Region are warning that blacklegged ticks have been found in two areas in Vaughan that are popular for hiking and outdoor activities.

“The Regional Municipality of York fall tick surveillance results confirm blacklegged ticks are present in the vicinity of the Boyd Conservation Area and Kortright Conservation Area in the City of Vaughan,” York Region Community and Health Services said in a news release Tuesday.

The agency said the ticks are being sent to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg to determine if they carry Borrelia burgdorferi – the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease.

Humans can acquire Lyme disease through a bite from a blacklegged tick that carries the bacteria.  The symptoms can take weeks to surface and can range from fatigue to nervous system disorders and arthritis.

“It is important to be vigilant about tick surveillance, but remember not all blacklegged ticks are infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Not all tick bites will spread Lyme disease,” York Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Karim Kurji said in the release. “Residents should also know Lyme disease is not spread from person-to-person. It comes from infected ticks within the first 24 hours of attachment.”

York Region conducts tick surveillance every fall and spring. Blacklegged ticks were found at both Boyd Conservation Area and Kortright Conservation Area in fall 2017 and spring this year.

York Region’s health unit says those who spend time in wooded areas are advised to take a number of precautions, including:

  • Wear light-coloured pants, long-sleeved tops, closed footwear and tuck your pants into your socks
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin
  • Search your body for ticks, especially the groin, scalp, back and underarm areas and quickly remove attached ticks; visit for instructions on how to safely remove ticks
  • You may be able to wash off unattached ticks by bathing or showering as soon as possible after coming indoors
  • Check your pets for ticks