With short grass and only a handful of big bushes, it’s an unlikely area for the blood-sucking parasites to breed; but ticks have been spotted at Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto’s west-end.
“It’s pretty terrifying,” said one person lounging at the park Wednesday. “I’ve heard the ticks are pretty bad right now so knowing they’re in the park that everyone goes to is a little bit concerning.”
The sighting was posted on reddit and quickly gained traction. Many people responding that they’ve witnessed similar situations.
“Just spent about 30 minutes sitting under a tree in Trinity Bellwoods and found about 8 black legged ticks,” said the post. “They carry Lyme disease and can be tricky to remove once they latch on.”
But Toronto Public Health says it’s unlikely black-legged ticks, the kind that carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, are at the park.
“Those sightings are probably other kinds of ticks,” said Dr. Christine Navarro, Associate Medical Officer of Health at TPH.
The suspicion is that they are dog ticks, not commonly associated with Lyme disease. Navarro added black-legged ticks have been on the rise across Toronto, especially on the city’s east-end, at places like Rouge Park.
“That’s probably attributable to climate change that allows the expansion of that population,” said Navarro.
She added there aren’t any broad measures the city can take to fight the growth.
The city has seen an increase in the number of Lyme disease cases, averaging 40 over the past five years.
If you do find a tick, it is strongly recommended you report it to Toronto Public Health. If one has latched onto your body, Navarro says it is fairly easy removing it with tweezers, but always consult a doctor if you’re concerned.