Lyme Disease

image de tique à pattes noires
Source : Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux

Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium, which is transmitted through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. The disease is spreading rapidly in Quebec, with 447 cases reported in the province in 2023, compared with 126 cases in 2016.

While most cases of Lyme disease reported in the province were contracted in Montérégie, Estrie and outside the province, eight cases were reported in the Laurentides in 2023, with four of them contracted in the region. With climate change, blacklegged ticks, which transmit the disease, are advancing north and east in the province, at a speed of 18 to 35 km per year. Their period of activity has also gotten longer (from March to November) as well as the season for bites. 

Consequently, preventive measures against tick bites (wearing a hat and long clothing, using mosquito repellent, etc.) are recommended across the Laurentians.

In 2022, for the first time in the Laurentians, the risk of contracting Lyme disease was found to be significant in the following localities: Deux-Montagnes, Mirabel, Oka, Pointe-Calumet, Saint-Eustache, Saint-Joseph-du-Lac, Saint-Placide, Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, as well as the Kanesatake community territory. 

In 2024, some 40 municipalities in the Laurentides are presenting blacklegged infected ticks, which means there is a greater risk of transmission of the disease. Following an assessment by a doctor or a pharmacist, a person who has been bitten by a tick may be prescribed a preventive antibiotic (doxycycline).

Eligibility criteria for preventive treatmen:: 

  • Having been bitten in an municipality where post-exposure prophylaxis is recommended; 
  • Having a tick attached to your skin for more than 24 hours; 
  • Having removed a tick within less than 72 hours; 
  • Having no contraindications for doxycycline. 

Municipalities with an elevated risk of contracting Lyme disease

Protecting yourself against tick bites

Ticks do not jump, fly or drop from a higher surface, such as a branch. They can, however, attach themselves to you or your pet if you are in contact with plants in a garden, landscaped areas, forest, wooded areas or tall grasses. The best way to avoid contracting Lyme disease is to avoid being bitten by a tick during outdoor activities such as gardening, hiking in the forest, golfing, hunting, fishing and camping. 

Preventive measures 

When walking, to avoid tick bites : 

  • Stay on trails and avoid tall vegetation. 
  • Use mosquito repellent on the exposed parts of your body, while avoiding your face. Follow the /typo3conf/l10n/fr/rtehtmlarea/Resources/Private/Language/fr.locallang_accessibilityicons.xlf:external_link_new_window_altTextinstructions for using mosquito repellent.
  • Wear a hat, closed shoes and long clothing.
  • Tuck your shirt into your pants.
  • Tuck your pants into your socks or boots. 
  • Wear light-coloured clothing to make it easier to spot ticks. 

When you return from an outdoor activity: 

  • Examine your entire body. 
  • Take a bath or a shower as soon as possible, ideally within two hours after outdoor activity, to check for ticks. This will also help to remove any ticks that are not tightly attached to your skin. 
  • Have someone help you or use a mirror to examine the less visible parts of your body, such as your back. Take advantage of bath time to inspect your child’s body.
  • Inspect your equipment (jacket, backpack, etc.). This helps to avoid bringing ticks into your house, where they could bite someone or a pet. 
  • Eliminate ticks on your clothes by putting them in the dryer at high heat for 10 minutes. If your clothes are too dirty to put in the dryer, wash them in hot water for 40 minutes, then put them in the dryer at high heat for 60 minutes. The clothes must be completely dry. 
  • Examine your pets, as they can bring ticks into the house. If you find any, remove them and consult your veterinarian, if necessary. For more information about ticks and pets, consult the Web page /typo3conf/l10n/fr/rtehtmlarea/Resources/Private/Language/fr.locallang_accessibilityicons.xlf:external_link_new_window_altTextLyme disease in animals

To reduce the presence of ticks in your environment: 

  • Cut down all tall grasses and brush around your house, and mow your lawn. 
  • Remove all dead leaves, brush and weeds in your yard and near woodpiles and sheds.
  • Create wood chip or gravel paths between wooded areas and your lawn, patios and play areas. These paths should be at least three meters wide. 
  • Set up your play areas in sunny zones, away from trees.
  • Carefully stack your wood, in a covered, dry area. This will help to prevent rodents, which can attract ticks. Get rid of any old furniture and accessories in your yard. 

For more information on how to identify ticks, consult the /typo3conf/l10n/fr/rtehtmlarea/Resources/Private/Language/fr.locallang_accessibilityicons.xlf:external_link_new_window_altText Identification guide for ticks in Québec. 

To learn how to identify a tick, click /typo3conf/l10n/fr/rtehtmlarea/Resources/Private/Language/fr.locallang_accessibilityicons.xlf:external_link_new_window_altTexthere.   

For more information on how to prevent Lyme disease: /typo3conf/l10n/fr/rtehtmlarea/Resources/Private/Language/fr.locallang_accessibilityicons.xlf:external_link_new_window_altTextMaladie de Lyme : attention aux tiques! | Proté (in French only)

What to do if you're bitten

  • Remove the tick as soon as possible, without squeezing it or using your fingers or fingernails. If the blacklegged tick is removed within 24 hours, the risk of contracting Lyme disease is very low. The longer the tick remains attached, the greater the risk of contracting the disease if the tick is infected. To remove a tick, use a tick remover or tweezers. Avoid using your fingers or fingernails. To learn how to remove a tick, consult the steps /typo3conf/l10n/fr/rtehtmlarea/Resources/Private/Language/fr.locallang_accessibilityicons.xlf:external_link_new_window_altTexthere.
  • Write down the date, place and time, as well as area on your body where the tick was found.
  • Keep the tick in a sealed container, such as a pill bottle, and store it in the refrigerator. If you have to see a doctor or pharmacist, bring the container with you.

Call Info-Santé at 811 or consult a doctor or pharmacist if you are in one of the following situations:  

  • You think that you were bitten in Ouvre un lien interne dans la fenêtre couranteone of the at-risk municipalities.
  • The redness around the bite measures 5 cm in diameter or more.  
  • The redness persists for more than 48 hours.  
  • You think you have one or more of the symptoms of Lyme disease in the days, weeks or months following an outdoor activity that may have exposed you to ticks.


piqûre de tique
Source : La Presse canadienne/AP-Centers for disease control, James Gathany

The symptoms of Lyme disease appear 3 to 30 days after the tick bite.

The most common symptom (60 to 80% of cases) is redness at the site of the bite. The redness spreads from one day to the next, rapidly reaching a diameter of 5 cm or more, and can take various shapes, including that of a bullseye. Generally, it is painless and does not itch. The redness lasts at least 48 hours.

It is important to differentiate this redness from an inflammatory reaction, which appears within 24 hours following the bite, measures less than 5 cm and often disappears within 24 to 48 hours.

Other symptoms are possible, such as fever, fatigue, headaches, neck stiffness, muscle and joint pain. If you have one or more of these symptoms after a tick bite, contact Info-Santé at 811 or consult a doctor.

Once diagnosed, Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. Rapid diagnosis and early treatment are key to avoiding complications.