Lyme Disease Personal Protection Indicator Report

Purpose of the Health Indicator Report

The purpose of this health indicator report is to provide information on the risk behaviors and protective measures related to 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. Blacklegged ticks are most commonly found in wooded, brushy, or tall grassy areas. Wearing long pants and shirts, taping or tucking in pants, wearing closed footwear, and wearing insect repellant with DEET can all reduce the chances of getting bitten by a tick when in grassy fields or wooded areas. 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

At Risk of Getting Lyme Disease

  • Overall Findings
    In 2016, 67% of Halton adults reported spending time in areas where they were at risk of getting Lyme disease (grassy fields/wooded areas) during the spring or summer, and 33% did not.
  • Sex
    In 2016, Halton males were more likely than females to report spending time in areas where they were at risk of getting Lyme disease and this difference was statistically significant.
  • Age
    In 2016, the percentage of Halton adults who reported spending time in areas where they were at risk of getting Lyme disease decreased as age increased. These differences were statistically significant when comparing adults aged 18-24 to adults aged 45-64, and when comparing adults aged 65+ to all other age groups.
  • Municipality
    In 2016, Halton adults living in Milton were more likely than adults living in Burlington and Halton Hills to report spending time in areas where they were at risk of getting Lyme disease. These differences were statistically significant when comparing adults living in Milton to adults living in Burlington.
  • Income
    In 2016, the percentage of Halton adults who reported spending time in areas where they were at risk of getting Lyme disease increased as income increased. These differences were statistically significant when comparing adults in the highest income group to adults in the lowest income group.
  • Education
    In 2016, the percentage of Halton adults who reported spending time in areas where they were at risk of getting Lyme disease was higher among those who were post-secondary graduates compared to those who were not post-secondary graduates, and this difference was statistically significant.

Protective Behaviours

  • Frequency of Protective Steps
    In 2016, 64% of Halton adults who reported spending time in areas where they were at risk of getting Lyme disease took steps to protect themselves from tick bites, and 36% did not. Of those who took steps to protect themselves from tick bites:
    • 13% took protective steps every time
    • 22% took protective steps most of the time
    • 16% took protective steps some of the time
    • 13% rarely took protective steps
  • Type of Protective Steps
    In 2016, Halton adults who reported spending time in areas where they were at risk of getting Lyme disease took the following recommended steps to protect themselves from ticks:
    • 45% wore long pants and shirts
    • 22% wore insect repellant/DEET
    • 12% wore closed footwear/socks
    • 7% tucked in or taped their pants
  • Frequency of Checking for Ticks
    In 2016, 51% of Halton adults checked themselves for ticks after leaving areas where they were at risk of getting Lyme disease and 49% did not. Of those who checked themselves for ticks:
    • 11% checked every time
    • 13% checked most of the time
    • 14% checked some of the time
    • 13% checked rarely