Ottawa is now an at-risk area for Lyme disease after Ottawa Public Health found more than 20 per cent of ticks tested positive for the bacteria last year.

The number of cases of Lyme disease in Ottawa has increased 10 fold in the last six years, from seven in 2010 to 75 in 2016.

Further, the ticks are no longer just in outlying areas of the city.

“We've even had people in suburban areas that backed on to forest areas that had ticks on their person after they did yard work,” Ottawa Public Health spokesperson, Ann Stanton-Loucks told CTV Ottawa.

Lesley Fleming, who still suffers from Lyme disease after being diagnosed four years ago, is now dragging local areas for ticks as well as trying to raise awareness about the disease.

“It’s kind of scary to think how many ticks there are going to be this year. Lyme disease can cause a lifelong chronic illness that people don’t recover from,” she said. “There is no cure.”

Long-term complications can involve muscle and joint pain, irregular heartbeat, and nervous system disorders, according to Public Health Ottawa.

According to Fleming, ticks enjoy warm moist areas like arm pits, the groin area, back of the knees and scalp. But Fleming told CTV Ottawa that ticks “could be anywhere”.

Ottawa Public Health suggests wearing long sleeve shirts and tucking pants into socks to help prevent getting bitten by a tick as well as using powerful bug spray with DEET in it.

They also suggest doing a full body check on yourself, children and pets after being outdoors.

With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Joanne Schnurr