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5 Tick-Borne Diseases Found in Canada

These are the tick-borne illnesses you can contract in Canada. Find out which symptoms to watch out for.

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Tick borne diseases in Canada - Lyme disease bullseye rashPhoto: Shutterstock

Lyme disease

The most well-known of the tick diseases in Canada is an inflammatory condition caused by strains of Borrelia bacteria, carried by blacklegged ticks. It’s the most common tick-related illness, and it often comes with a rash, as well as fever, nausea and muscle and joint pain. Remember: ticks may thrive in deciduous forests but populations are spreading to more urban settings. To find out if Lyme disease-carrying ticks live near you, visit this Health Canada website to track problem areas listed by province.

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Tick borne diseases in Canada - babesiosis parasite in blood cellsPhoto: Shutterstock


Carried by blacklegged ticks, this illness is caused by the microscopic parasite Babesia microti. The parasite infects red blood cells, causing fevers, chills, headaches and fatigue. More severe cases can lead to jaundice, anemia and shortness of breath. How big is a tick? A youngster is the size of a poppyseed; a male, the equivalent of a sesame seed; a female measures up to a flaxseed. After they’ve fed, they get significantly larger. CanLyme offers some helpful charts to identify ticks.

Find out how ticks became a major threat to our health.

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Man with back achePhoto: Shutterstock

Human granulocytic anaplasmosis

This infectious disease is spread by blacklegged ticks carrying the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum. It attacks white blood cells and leads to fever, chills, headaches and muscle aches.

Discover the health symptoms you should never ignore.

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Tick borne diseases in Canada - American dog tickPhoto: Shutterstock

Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Transmitted by an infected American dog tick (above) or Rocky Mountain wood tick, this illness, luckily, has been mostly confined to the southern U.S. It typically shows up with a fever, headache, nausea and then a rash.

Here are the skin changes you should pay close attention to.

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Tick-borne diseases in Canada - engorged dog tick being removedPhoto: Shutterstock


This tick-borne virus that can be transmitted by the blacklegged tick but is extremely rare—only 21 cases have ever been reported in Canada. Some people don’t develop any symptoms; others have a fever, headache, vomiting or even inflammation of the brain and meningitis.

Now that you know which tick diseases can be found in Canada, read the story of a Canadian woman who developed Lyme disease—without the telltale bullseye rash.

Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada