Lyme education begins a new year

Opinion
Pictou-Advocate-opinion

To the Editor:
Deer are everywhere. We received a Christmas card from a friend in New Glasgow in which were enclosed pictures of deer in his back yard. A person in the North End New Glasgow said she went out to get in her car to go to work one morning and there was a herd of about 20 deer crossing her street.
Do not feed the deer; in fact, in some areas it is against the law to feed deer. Deer are like tick ‘taxis’ transporting ticks in the environment with the ticks dropping off wherever they are, it could be your backyard. Birds can also carry and drop ticks in the environment and these are referred to as ‘adventitious ‘ticks.
Deer are attracted to bird feeders; place feeders up high or take in at night to help avoid a problem with visitors.
Risk is risk when you speak about the chance of being bitten. Ticks can be found across the province, there are just areas of higher concentration. Pets are being bitten and acquiring the Borrelia bacteria. There have been dogs that have died as a result of complications due to Lyme.
I started off New Year’s Day with contact from someone looking for help for a friend with
Lyme, another year of the same. We hope not, but time will tell if anything comes about as a result of the conference in May 2016 to develop a federal framework on Lyme disease which was mandated by the Federal Framework on Lyme Act. The CVMA (Canadian Veterinary Medical Association) in partnership with Merck Animal Health is making plans for the second National Tick Awareness Month in March for veterinarians and staff. Perhaps the medical doctors could check out what veterinarians have to say regarding ticks and vector borne diseases. I had a doctor who was an infectious disease specialist tell me that veterinarians knew nothing some years ago – time for change and working and learning together.
May is Lyme Awareness month. This is a worldwide event aimed at protest and education. Saturday, June 3, a group called VOCAL (Voices of Canadians About Lyme) will be holding events in various parts of Canada. To be involved or help, contact Donna Lugar at donna.lugar@ns.sympatico.ca. We need people to come out so our government and medical professionals will finally realize that this is an issue of importance to people that they can no longer ignore or sweep under the rug.
I plan on being at the New Glasgow Farmers Market with my Lyme awareness table again
sometime this year as well as a few other markets in the province.
It is well past time for change.
People need help in Canada rather than travelling south of the border.
Education is key!

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin
New Glasgow

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