DUFFERIN (GNB) – The provincial and federal governments are partnering to enhance field surveillance and tick collection over a two-year period to monitor the distribution of ticks and the risk of Lyme disease.

The geographic range of blacklegged ticks, which can transmit Lyme disease, has been expanding.

"Lyme disease is an emerging illness in New Brunswick and in other parts of Canada,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet. “This enhanced surveillance will provide the provincial government with up-to-date information on the current distribution of the reproducing population of the tick and tick-borne pathogens in New Brunswick.”

Doucet spoke on behalf of Health Minister Victor Boudreau.

The Public Health Agency of Canada will provide the New Brunswick Department of Health with $69,000 over two years to study the geographic range of blacklegged tick populations and emerging Lyme disease risk areas in the province.

“This partnership is just one example of how the Government of Canada is working with provincial and territorial health authorities and other partners to address Lyme disease,” said federal Health Minister Jane Philpott. “This project is key to increasing our knowledge base so we can better inform the public about the areas where they are more at risk of Lyme disease and the prevention measures they can take to protect themselves.”

Surveillance will take place in identified risk areas of the province, such as Grand Manan, Grand Bay-Westfield, Saint John, Rothesay, Quispamsis, St. Stephen, Saint Andrews and St. George. It will monitor how widespread Lyme disease and other tick-borne pathogens are in the local tick populations. Surveillance will also take place elsewhere to detect potential new risk areas.

Additional information is available from the New Brunswick Lyme Disease Strategy 2017 and Lyme Disease in Canada – A Federal Framework.