Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lyme Disease in Ontario

Sadie, after I removed a tick
Lyme disease testing in Canada questioned
Advocates with Lyme disease are calling on all levels of government in Canada to improve testing and treatment for the illness. The disease is spread by a bite from an infected black-legged tick that introduces bacteria into the bloodstream. Without antibiotic treatment, it can cause a complicated, serious illness.

Lyme Disease, while rare, is highly preventable with the right precautions. The bacterium is carried by black-legged ticks, which bite you and suck blood over a period of hours.

I've been getting requests from an American to publicize his articles. They are not research-based, and outline his issues with treatment, or lack thereof, in the US of A. Canada's healthcare is a different situation than in the US, where for-profit Lyme Disease specialists prey on victims of Lyme Disease.

The following is from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Here are a few snippets of good information.

Check for ticks. If you find one:
Carefully remove attached ticks using tweezers. Grasp the tick's head and mouth parts as close to the skin as possible and pull slowly until the tick is removed. Do not twist or rotate the tick and try not to squash or crush the tick during removal.
Lyme disease has been a nationally notifiable disease in Canada since 2009. Please click here for more information on diagnosis and reportingFor more information about the diagnosis of Lyme disease, please see: Ogden N et al. The emergence of lyme disease in Canada. CMAJ 2009;180(12):1221-1224 
Feeding ticks found on a patient’s skin can be submitted to the National Microbiology Laboratory for identification and testing for B burgdorferi infection. For additional information, contact the National Microbiology Laboratory: Phone: (204) 789-2000 Email:

Lyme Disease Fact Sheet

Creepy little thing that hangs on.
They have eight legs.
Lyme disease is an illness caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, which can be spread through the bite of certain types of ticks.
Small rodents are the most common reservoirs of B. burgdorferi, while larger animals serve as hosts for ticks. Ticks that transmit Lyme disease thrive in wooded areas and can lurk on the tips of grasses or shrubs where they can easily transfer to people or animals as they brush past.
Ticks live in and around wooded areas and they get infected when they feed on mice, squirrels, birds and other small animals that can carry the bacterium. Ticks then spread the bacterium to humans.
Symptoms include flu-like reactions: The first sign of infection is usually a circular rash called erythema migrans or EM. It looks like a bull's eye. Next, fatigue, chills, fever; headache; muscle and joint pain; and swollen lymph nodes.
The second stage of the disease, known as disseminated Lyme disease, can last up to several months and include: central and peripheral nervous system disorders, multiple skin rashes, arthritis and arthritic symptoms, heart palpitations and extreme fatigue and general weakness.
If the disease remains untreated, the third stage can last months to years with symptoms that can include recurring arthritis and neurological problems.
For more information on the clinical symptoms of Lyme disease, please see - Lyme disease, A zoonotic disease of increasing importance to Canadians. Canadian Family Physician 2008 
The diagnosis of Lyme disease should be made after evaluating a patient's symptoms and the risk of exposure to infected ticks. Blood tests may also be used to detect the presence of antibodies to the bacteria.
Several antibiotics can treat the illness. The sooner treatments starts, the better. Most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with a 2-4 week treatment of doxycycline, amoxicillin, or ceftriaxone.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is currently funding a health research project on Lyme disease. Funding of $820,000 over five years has been provided to study the properties of the bacteria. This health research project will lead to further understanding of the pathogen causing Lyme disease. 

The emergence of Lyme disease in Canada

  1. Harvey Artsob, PhD

1 comment:

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Many in Canada have contracted Lyme Disease, but physicians are not very good at diagnosing it.

Read about Marlene (Meerkat)'s