The wildlife protection agents in Quebec are forcing the government to consider declaring Lyme disease as an occupational hazard.
According to the agents, the current rules do not give them the protection. They need to fight to get compensation or care from the Workplace Health and Safety Board.
The wildlife agents are at the risk of getting infected with the disease as they are constantly in contact with sick animals with ticks.
Lyme disease was recognized in Quebec for the first time in 2006.Since then; the number of diagnosed people is rising. There is a 65 percent increase in cases from last year.
According to Dr. Geneviève Barron, a professor at Université de Sherbrooke, they have to wear protective long clothing and apply insect repellents when they go out. Dr. Barron works with Quebec health officials in the eastern areas of the state.
Ticks infected with bacteria called Borrelia bugdorferi spread the disease to humans when they bite them. The symptoms of the disease usually appear 3 to 30 days after the bite.
Nicolas Roy, Wildlife Protection Agent’s Union President, said that the agents are looking for real recognition of the disease as an occupational disease.
The agents may not immediately notice whether the ticks bit them. This makes it even more difficult for them to get help early, added Roy.