Confirmed and probable cases in Manitoba since 2009: 114
Vector: Black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks, which are less than half the size of the locally more-widespread wood or dog ticks.
Pathogen: A bacterium, Borellia bergdorfuri, which can be found in established populations of black-legged ticks.
Manitoba risk areas: Winnipeg, Birds Hill Park, a forested corridor running from the Vita area up through the St. Malo, Steinbach and Ste. Anne areas to Richer, the Pembina River Valley from the U.S. border to Killarney, the Assiniboine River corridor from Winnipeg to the Brandon Hills, the southeast shores of Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg and the southeastern corner of the province around Sprague and Buffalo Bay.
Symptoms: Initially, but not always, an expanding "bull's-eye" rash that shows up three to 30 days after a bite from an infected tick. Later symptoms can include headaches, fever, muscle aches, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue. If left untreated, headaches, dizziness, irregular heartbeats, joint pain and concentration problems can continue for months or years.
Treatment: Two or three weeks of antibiotics does the trick if a diagnosis is made early on. So see a doctor if you have symptoms.
Prevention: Prevent ticks from reaching your skin by sticking to trails when hiking, wearing long pants and tucking your shirt into those pants. Consider insect repellents effective against ticks. Most importantly, check yourself, your family members and your pets for ticks once you get home. Just don't freak out if you find the larger, harmless wood ticks, which are far more common and easier to find.
Manitoba cases since 2009: 72
Vector: Moist soil and rotten wood on the forest floor.
Pathogen: A fungus, Blastomyces dermatitidis. People who inhale the spores may be infected, as the fungus makes itself at home in the lungs.
Risk areas: The Canadian Shield, regions of eastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, including cottage country.
Symptoms: A flu-like assortment, including fever, coughs, chills, night sweats, muscle and joint pain, weight loss and chest pain will show up three to 15 weeks after infection. It may be misdiagnosed as flu or pneumonia. Symptoms are present only in roughly half the people who get infected.
Treatment: Antifungal medicines clear up most cases.
Prevention: People with compromised immune systems can limit the amount of time they spend digging in soil in risk areas.
West Nile virus
Manitoba cases since 2009: 49
Vector: Culex tarsalis mosquitoes, whose numbers are largest in southern Manitoba from mid-July to the end of August. These are sneaky ones who tend to cause a less painful bite than more common nuisance-mosquito species.
Pathogen: West Nile virus, a Flavivirus similar in genetic structure to the virus that causes dengue fever, a tropical disease.
Risk areas: Across southern Manitoba during warm, wet summers when Culex populations are high.
Symptoms: None, in some people. Headaches, fever, body aches and fatigue in others. In severe cases, debilitating headaches, high fever, muscle weakness, coma, paralysis and, in rare cases, death.
Treatment: There's no cure, but anyone with serious symptoms should seek medical attention.
Prevention: Reduce exposure to mosquito bites by staying inside at dusk and dawn, wearing long, loose-fitting clothing when you go outside and by wearing mosquito repellent containing DEET.
Manitoba cases since 2009: 1
Pathogen: The Sin Nombre virus, a type of hantavirus.
Vector: Deer mice and other small rodents. People can get infected by breathing in particles of rodent droppings, urine or saliva.
Risk areas: Rural and semi-rural areas.
Symptoms: Three to six days after exposure, flu-like symptoms that include fever, headaches, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, diarrhea, abdominal pain and shortness of breath.
Treatment: There's no cure; 30 to 40 per cent of patients die, usually within days of infection. Patients who receive medical attention usually survive with the help of oxygen.
Prevention: Get rid of mice, if you have them in your home, even though the disease risk is remote. Avoid mouse droppings.
Manitoba cases since 2009: None
Vector: Medium-sized mammals, most commonly foxes, skunks, feral cats and bats.
Pathogen: A Lyssavirus that attacks the central nervous system, contracted from the saliva of infected mammals.
Risk areas: The risk is minimal, but in theory, rabid mammals can be anywhere.
Symptoms: Twenty to 60 days after a bite, flu-like symptoms start, including fever, headache and weakness. As the disease worsens, patients salivate excessively, get muscle spasms, behave strangely and usually die.
Treatment: Survival is likely if medical attention is sought within 24 hours of a bite, when a jolt of vaccine and immunoglobulins can eliminate the disease. After that, you're doomed to death.
Prevention: Report any mammal behaving strangely to wildlife authorities who will trap and kill it.
Sources: Manitoba Public Health, Centers for Disease Control