Advocates are working toward change

Pictou-Advocate-opinion

To the Editor:

There is an organization called One Health that is an integrative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment. Veterinarians with their expertise play a critical role in the health of animals, humans and even the environment, but these roles are often overlooked or unrecognized.

Veterinary medicine is the only profession that routinely operates at the interface of these three components of One Health: people, animals and environment. It is estimated that at least 75 per cent of emerging and re-emerging diseases are either zoonotic (spread between humans and animals) or vector-borne (carried from infected animals to others through insects). Our health is connected to the health of our animals, plants and environment. November 3 is the second annual global ‘One Health Day’ to ‘educate’ and ‘create’ networks to improve health outcomes. Animal Health + Human Health + Planet Health = One Health. All groups must work together. I had suggested to a federal politician that I thought perhaps doctors should speak with veterinarians and was told that he could not do that. Why not? Things must change.

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Six out of 10 infections are a result of a vector borne disease. According to the CDC, Lyme is the fastest growing vector borne infectious disease.

It is time for health care professionals to work together for the good of all. Vector borne diseases are not high on the list of what doctors are taught in medical school. We who suffer are the ones forced to do our own research. There are still doctors who say Lyme does not exist. Acknowledging Lyme may be like opening up Pandora’s Box as Lyme could be at the root of many health problems that have no known cause.

The number of and spread of infected ticks is growing worldwide. If you are bitten by a tick it is cause for concern. We do what we can to prevent getting bitten but it still happens. I feel it is better to treat than not treat knowing what some of the possible outcomes can be if you end up with a chronic infection. There is no set treatment protocol and the guidelines being followed are outdated, this must change. Recently a child with a tick attached to their head, had it removed at a hospital and the mother was told children under six were not treated for tick bites. They proceeded to the children’s hospital and were prescribed a course of antibiotics. It is unfortunate that so many have to travel out of country to the USA, Mexico, Germany and other destinations in order to get medical help.

There are a group of advocates working towards change. We do not give up or go away.

Education is key!

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin
New Glasgow