from Cape Breton Post, August 24, 2016
by Carla Allen
All seasons are tick seasons and Nova Scotia is having a boom; The threat of Lyme disease continues to grow
Fishery officer Neil Deveau was hit with a double whammy in early June when he encountered poison ivy and a tick infected with Lyme disease on the same excursion, just outside Yarmouth.
Symptoms of the poison ivy didn’t appear until 10 days later, but two days after the tick bite, a boil-like sore developed on his body. Red with a purple centre, the sore was warm to the touch. It grew bigger in the following days then a similar outbreak appeared on his stomach.
On June 30 he saw a doctor. He was treated for the poison ivy and received a blood test for Lyme disease, which he was told would take two weeks for results.
Meanwhile he went to the Magdalen Islands on vacation. By the middle of the week he had at least half a dozen more problem spots on his body. He visited outpatients and the doctor emailed a picture of one of the sores to a Montreal specialist who confirmed it was Lyme disease. Oral antibiotics were prescribed and the spots disappeared within 48 hours.
In the days following, he flew to Richmond, B.C., to referee a national women’s volleyball tournament. While there, he woke up one morning with partial facial paralysis.
“It was interesting trying to blow my whistle,” he laughed.
Three days later he was worse. It was hard to eat and his eye was sore (affected by the paralysis). He believes the antibiotics were strong enough to get rid of the rash, but weren’t strong enough to combat the Lyme disease.
On July 19 Deveau saw his doctor and was diagnosed with Lyme disease from the earlier blood test. He was referred to a neurologist in Yarmouth and a cannula (IV port) was placed in his hand for delivery of a liquid antibiotic. His symptoms disappeared within two to three days after the medication started.
“I’ve heard a lot more people in the area saying that they’ve heard of others who had Lyme disease,” said Deveau.
LOTS OF TICKS
Zoologist Andrew Hebda says it’s been a great year for ticks.
“Someone said it was a bad year, but no, they’re doing very well,” he said with his characteristic sharp sense of humour.
“Tick season is all season. People used to think that when it gets warm in the summertime the ticks disappear and we’re okay,” he said.