Tick-borne diseases: From well-known Lyme disease to deadly Powassan encephalitis
Tick-borne diseases are prevalent throughout central and eastern Canada, including Ontario. Of the many infections transmissible through tick bites, Lyme disease is the most well-known. However, lesser known tick-borne diseases, such as Powassan encephalitis, can have debilitating, or even lethal complications. The incidence of all tick-borne infections has increased over the past decade, with reported cases of Lyme disease seeing a tenfold increase. Identifying both Lyme disease and Powassan encephalitis can be challenging, as patients only show abnormalities in the later stages of disease progression. Even following successful treatment for Lyme disease, patients may continue to suffer from chronic disease sequelae. As tick populations continue to increase, primary prevention is the most effective method of combating tick-borne diseases.