Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans by a bite from an infected blacklegged tick. In Nova Scotia, only the blacklegged tick carries the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and not all blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria.

Ticks attach to the skin and feed on blood. A tick carrying the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease can only transmit it after filling itself with blood, which takes at least 36 hours.

How prevalent is Lyme disease in Nova Scotia?

From 2002 to 2016, there was a total of 1020 cases of Lyme disease reported in Nova Scotia. In 2016, there were 326 reported cases of Lyme disease, which was an increase from the 247 cases reported in 2015. Tick populations are expanding in Nova Scotia and Lyme disease awareness has grown over the years, so an increase in number of cases is expected.

Where are the risk areas for Lyme disease in Nova Scotia?

Blacklegged ticks survive best in areas that provide a moist habitat, such as wooded or forested areas, because the trees provide shade, and leaves provide protective ground cover.

Nova Scotia has a suitable climate for tick populations. Blacklegged ticks are found throughout Nova Scotia; therefore, the province should be considered an at risk area for Lyme disease. Nova Scotians are encouraged to spend time outdoors, be active and remember to protect themselves against tick bites, which is the best way to prevent Lyme disease.

Brochures on Lyme Disease and What you Should do if you Suspect Lyme Disease give more tips for protecting yourself and your family whenever you enjoy the outdoors, especially in grassy, wooded, or shrub-covered areas.  

More information can be found on the province of Nova Scotia website for Communicable Disease Prevention and Control. 

The following is a Lyme disease estimated risk areas map that uses historical Lyme disease case data and active and passive tick surveillance data to capture the gradient of Lyme disease risk.

Lyme Disease by County sm