To the Editor:
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and I can say among the general population awareness is growing about Lyme and the many co-infections, yet getting a diagnosis and treatment in Canada is not that easy. The other week I had someone ask me about the Lyme Awareness pin I wear and wanted to know what it was; I had information and a pin for this person. In the past I have had doctors tell me they did not know about Lyme. Things must change.
Lyme disease was diagnosed as a separate condition for the first time in 1975 in Old Lyme, Conn. Willie Burgdorfer in 1981 described and named the disease. The bacterium was found to be in existence long ago as it was found in the remains of Otzi the ice man.
The bacterium is spread by ticks and has been found in other biting insects but can also be spread congenital, found in breast milk, an STD, in blood and tissues as well as contact with fluids from ruptured ticks. The life cycle is somewhat complicated as it has a 28-day life cycle and can change forms and hide in the body.
There is a need for more research. It has been said that it takes 24 hours for the bacteria to transfer but this is only from one study with animals. The old outdated guidelines are being followed rather than acknowledging current research.
Lyme disease proclamations will be made in various parts of the country in May. Pictou East MLA Tim Houston has once again put forth in the Legislature a Bill regarding Lyme. And now we wait.
There are plans in the works for a conference regarding Lyme in October in Bridgewater. In the meantime, Lyme advocates will push on spreading awareness.
Education is KEY!