Passive surveillance is the primary method researchers use to keep track of tick populations in Canada. Surveillance is considered to be passive when ticks are collected by veterinarians, doctors, pet groomers or members of the public and sent to laboratories where they can be tested for Lyme disease. The more ticks researchers receive, the better our collective knowledge becomes of where Lyme infected ticks are making their homes in this country.
When passive surveillance turns up a cluster of infected ticks in a particular region, researchers can then be sent in to flag and/or drag suspected hot spots, allowing them to collect a large number of ticks from a target area which helps them to get a more accurate sense of local Lyme infection rates.
Whenever you pull a tick off of yourself, your pets or your kids, you or your doctor can send it to the appropriate lab for identification and possible testing.
Keep in mind that this testing is done for research purposes. Any concerns you have that you, your family, or your pets may have been exposed to Lyme bacteria should be referred to your doctor.
Janet Sperling, University of Alberta, 9131-118 Street NW, Edmonton, AB, T6G 1T6.
(Tick researcher & CanLyme board member.)
BC Public Health Microbiology and Reference Laboratory
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Field Studies - Zoonotic Diseases and Special Pathogens, National Microbiology Laboratory