Lyme: The ‘new’ Great Impostor

Pictou-Advocate-opinion

To the Editor:

Ticks are often referred to as the dirty needle as they can carry a multitude of diseases. No tick is a good tick.

There is so much that is unknown about Lyme disease and co-infections at this time that needs to be researched further and is being researched.

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In the late 1940s, syphilis was given the title of “the great impostor” or “the great imitator” of other diseases.

Lyme is called the new ‘great impostor’ as it can mimic so many conditions and is often undiagnosed/misdiagnosed. And, as with syphilis, Lyme is caused by a spirochete, or corkscrew-shaped bacterium. There are more than 300 conditions some of which are: early Alzheimer ’s disease, early ALS, arthritis, ADD and ADHD, autism, Bell’s palsy, brain tumour, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, headaches (severe), Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, memory impairment, MS, optic neuritis, Parkinson’s, psychiatric disorders like bipolar and depression, Raynaud’s syndrome, seizure disorders, sleep disorders, thyroid disease, Tourette’s syndrome, urticaria, vertigo and the list goes on. Many of these are of unknown cause and are labels placed on a set of symptoms. Idiopathic condition: relating to or denoting any disease or condition that arises spontaneously or for which the cause is unknown. The new term being used is MUS medically unexplained symptoms, but there is always a reason it is just unknown.

If you have an illness that is unknown it would be wise to include Lyme in the differential diagnosis. I was labelled with presumptive MS but had many symptoms that were not MS-like and was told to be quiet it was MS… wrong answer. It is always good to look further; you know your own body better than anyone else.

Save the tick if you get a tick bite. If the tick was on a person it can be sent to Dr. Vett Lloyd at Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB where all ticks are being tested for Lyme. The turnaround time is usually two to four weeks (http://tinyurl.com/l2795ul) . It was announced recently about CanLyme establishing a research partnership with Mount Allison.

Dalhousie University is doing a study and they want YOUR ticks! Seal your tick in a baggie (with a damp cotton swab if it is still alive), put it in an envelope and mail it to: Tatiana Rossolimo, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford Street, PO Box 15000, Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2. Please include information on where the tick came from and an email address if you would like to know the results. Please note: they are not able to test specifically for Lyme disease at this time as the study is centred on other findings.

It is wise to consult a doctor. Treatment protocol being used by our doctors is out of date and must change. The Federal Framework for Lyme disease was announced by Minister Jane Philpott and is a disappointment to those suffering with Lyme disease. The federal government has a role, is built around three pillars: surveillance; guidelines and best practices; and education and awareness. Let us hope this is just a beginning. It is time for change. In the meantime be aware.

Education is key!

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin
New Glasgow