Let 2018 be a year of change

Pictou-Advocate-opinion

To the Editor:

We begin another year and still there is little or no help for those suffering with Lyme/chronic Lyme in Canada. Ticks are a year-round problem depending on weather conditions. We hope and pray this will be the year of change.

Why are so many forced out of Canada when we supposedly have one of the best health care systems? This is a vector-borne illness that carries with it the possibility of many other infections. If caught early and treated with a long enough course of antibiotics it can be eradicated, but for so many this never happened. If there is a health concern with no known cause, Lyme and co-infections should be considered.

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Public awareness has grown over the years. Many more know how to properly protect themselves and their family as well as how to remove a tick. Sending the tick for testing if you have it is helpful. Why trash the tick if you have it?

Lyme is a serious illness not to be taken lightly. Yet the health care system is behind. They follow outdated guidelines rather than moving forward based on current science. There are too many suffering in Canada with no help. The problem has been here a lot longer than most realize. If you are not looking for something you will never find it. Think of all those with medical concerns of unknown origin who could possibly have a vector-borne disease at the root of their problems.

The One Health initiative has estimated 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 the environment.

Lyme advocates are working on plans for the coming year. The veterinarians have March as tick awareness month and for people, May is Lyme awareness month. Work is being done on holding Voices of Canadians about Lyme (VOCAL) events again this year. There is a group of scientists getting together with facilitators Dr. Vett Lloyd from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick and Melanie Wills from the University of Guelph in Ontario to form a group with patients and patient advocates as part of the core committee.

Everyone can add their voice to the concerns. Contact your MLAs, MPs and whomever else you think could possibly help.

Let 2018 be the year of change.

Education is key!

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin

New Glasgow