WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will no longer be accepting ticks for testing through its surveillance program and is instead encouraging people to use an online identification serivce.

For those outdoor enthusiasts who may come in contact with a tick, the health unit is recommending people use eTick, online service that accepts photos for a free tick identification. The website also has public data and a map showing the types of ticks and where they were found across Canada.

According to the health unit, ticks are usually found in the woods but can be carried around by animals into yards, gardens and houses.

The blacklegged tick can spread the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, the health unit says the bacteria is most likely to be transmitted after the tick has been attached to a person for 24 hours or longer.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread teh a blacklegged tick bit. As Southwestern Ontario is a known area for Lyme disease, the health unit encourages people to protect themselves against the bugs when going outside.

Using insect repellent, avoiding walking in tall grass, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, and doing a full body check on yourself are a few ways the health unit recommends avoiding tick exposure when outdoors.

If a person is bitten by a tick, the health unit says it is important to remove the tick as soon as possible. It can then be identified using eTick and can be tested for any tick-borne diseases through a private laboratory that provides the service.