Monday, June 25, 2012

Lyme Disease

Nova Scotia has an increasing prevalence of Lyme disease. Areas confirmed to have  infected ticks include Yarmouth County, around Shelburne Harbour, around Lunenburg, Bedford, and New Glasgow. However, the public health service does not have the resources to collect ticks for examination from remote areas of the province, like offshore islands. I would regard any tick bite suffered West of Halifax as having a potential to carry Lyme disease, and the department did consider this, but have so far refrained from saying so. The chances of getting Lyme from any one tick bite is low, but the consequences of unrecognised infection are serious. The usual tick you find on yourself is locally called the "American Dog Tick" and is not recognised as a vector for Lyme. They have been present in western Nova Scotia since the earliest decades of the twentieth century.The black legged ticks, locally called "deer ticks", that do carry the disease are much smaller and are often missed. It is said that attachment for more than 24 hours is required to transmit the disease, though as 40% of confirmed cases of Lyme have no definite history of a tick attachment I am a bit circumspect about this. In my experience, all embedded ticks can cause a pretty fierce allergic reaction and local cellulitis requiring antibiotics. Our public health people don't recommend prophylactic treatment, but this is not the practice in places like Cape Cod or rural Connecticut where they have been dealing with this for decades. There, giving 200mg of the antibiotic doxycycline as a single dose for embedded tick attachment is a common practice. Given that access to medical care when you are on a boat in rural Nova Scotia is problematic, you might give this consideration. Should you develop the medical conditions of Bell's Palsy, or inflammatory arthritis, particularly of the knee, within a year of a visit to any undeveloped coastal area west of Halifax ( going for a picnic on an island,for example) you should be tested for Lyme disease. This will not be new stuff for anyone who cruises around Cape Cod or the Elizabeth Islands

canada border services agency

This is the new name for what used to be the customs. The procedure is much the same, but these days you are more likely to be inspected. You still call 1-888-CANPASS when you get in range. If you clear in Shelburne, there is a direct line to the CBSA in the clubhouse. You will be asked to tie up to either the facedock, or the fuel dock. This summer and last, virtually all visiting boats have been inspected. The CBSA say on their website they are not interested in normal supplies of food and drink, but I would advise to declare all your drink. Declare ALL firearms. Don't bring in even minuscule amounts of recreational drugs. I've known guys tape a packet under the engine sump, but the dog will find it. Don't bring in more than $10000 in cash ( fat chance, no?} as this will put you in the high risk category and your boat might be taken apart. You can get cash out of a machine in almost every community in the province now, so there is no need for large amounts of cash. Everyone on board needs photo ID, preferably a passport and there should be documentation for the boat. There have been patrol boats based in Shelburne for the last couple of years, and it is possible you be boarded at sea, though this is unlikely. Further information at