Lyme Disease Awareness Indicator Report

Purpose of the Health Indicator Report

The purpose of this health indicator report is to provide information on the level of public awareness and perceived risk of Lyme disease among adults aged 18 and over living in Halton Region.

Background

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an infected blacklegged (deer) tick.1 Blacklegged ticks are most commonly found in wooded, brushy or tall grassy areas. Lyme disease varies in severity and symptoms. Symptoms of Lyme disease include but are not limited to: a red bulls eye rash, muscle aches, fever, fatigue and headaches. The earlier that Lyme disease is diagnosed, the better the chances are that treatment will be successful. For more information visit the Halton Region Lyme Disease webpage.

This health indicator report uses data from the Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS).

Key Findings

Awareness of Lyme Disease

  • Overall Findings
    In 2016, 88% of Halton adults reported that they had ever read, seen, or heard anything about Lyme disease, and 12% were not aware of Lyme disease.
  • Sex
    In 2016, Halton females were more likely than males to report that they had ever read, seen, or heard anything about Lyme disease. This difference was statistically significant.
  • Age
    In 2016, Halton adults aged 18-24 were less likely than all other age groups to report that they had ever read, seen, or heard anything about Lyme disease. This difference was statistically significant when comparing adults aged 18-24 to adults aged 65+.
  • Municipality
    In 2016, there were no statistically significant differences by municipality in the percentage of Halton adults who reported that they had ever read, seen, or heard anything about Lyme disease.
  • Income
    In 2016, Halton adults in the low income group were less likely than adults in the middle and high income groups to report that they had ever read, seen, or heard anything about Lyme disease. These differences were statistically significant.
  • Education
    In 2016, there was no statistically significant difference by education in the percentage of Halton adults who reported that they had ever read, seen, or heard anything about Lyme disease.

Awareness of Lyme Disease Transmission

  • Overall Findings
    In 2016, 62% of Halton adults knew that Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, and 38% did not know that Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks.
  • Sex
    In 2016, there was no statistically significant difference by sex in the percentage of Halton adults who knew that Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks.
  • Age
    In 2016, Halton adults aged 18-24 were less likely than all other age groups to know that Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, however, these differences were not statistically significant.
  • Municipality
    In 2016, Halton adults living in Halton Hills were more likely than adults living in all other Halton municipalities to know that Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, however, these differences were not statistically significant.
  • Income
    In 2016, Halton adults in the low income group were less likely than adults in the middle and high income groups to know that Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks and these differences were statistically significant.
  • Education
    In 2016, the percentage of Halton adults who knew that Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks was higher among those who were post-secondary graduates compared to those who were not post-secondary graduates. This difference was statistically significant.

Awareness of Lyme Disease Symptoms and Perceived Risk

  • Awareness of Symptoms
    In 2016, Halton adults identified the following early symptoms of Lyme disease: Circular/bulls eye rash (15%), Flu-like symptoms (15%), Tiredness/fatigue (13%), Rash (12%, Fever or chills (12%), Muscle/joint/stiff neck (5%), Headache (2%) and Swollen lymph nodes (2%).
  • Perceived Risk
    In 2016, 7% of Halton adults reported that they believed they were at high risk of getting Lyme disease, 16% believed they were at medium risk, 43% believed they were at low risk, and 35% believed that they were not at risk.

Awareness of How to Remove Ticks

The following section of this report presents data on the proportion of Halton adults who knew how to correctly remove a tick. The correct way to remove a tick that is attached to your skin is by grasping the tick’s head and mouth with tweezers, forceps or another tool, as close to your skin as possible and slowly pulling until the tick is removed.

  • Overall Findings
    In 2016, 40% of Halton adults knew the correct way to remove a tick and 60% of Halton adults did not know the correct way to remove a tick.
  • Sex
    In 2016, Halton females were more likely than males to know the correct way to remove a tick and this difference was statistically significant.
  • Age
    In 2016, Halton adults aged 65+ were more likely than adults aged 18-24 to know the correct way to remove a tick, however, this difference was not statistically significant.
  • Municipality
    In 2016, adults living in Halton Hills and Burlington were more likely than adults living in Oakville to know the correct way to remove a tick. These differences were statistically significant when comparing adults living in Burlington to adults living in Oakville.
  • Income
    In 2016, there were no statistically significant differences by income in the percentage of Halton adults who knew the correct way to remove a tick.
  • Education
    In 2016, there was no statistically significant difference by education in the percentage of Halton adults who knew the correct way to remove a tick.

Awareness of Lyme Disease Testing

  • Overall Findings
    In 2016, 41% of Halton adults knew that a tick can be sent for Lyme disease testing and 59% did not know that a tick could be sent for Lyme disease testing.
  • Sex
    In 2016, there was no statistically significant difference by sex in the percentage of Halton adults who knew that a tick can be sent for Lyme disease testing.
  • Age
    In 2016, there were no statistically significant differences by age in the percentage of Halton adults who knew that a tick can be sent for Lyme disease testing.
  • Municipality
    In 2016, there were no statistically significant differences by municipality in the percentage of Halton adults who knew that a tick can be sent for Lyme disease testing.
  • Income
    In 2016, there were no statistically significant differences by income in the percentage of Halton adults who knew that a tick can be sent for Lyme disease testing.
  • Education
    In 2016, the percentage of Halton adults who knew that a tick can be sent for Lyme disease testing was higher among those who were post-secondary graduates compared to those who were not post-secondary graduates, and this difference was statistically significant.