To the Editor:
The entire province of Nova Scotia has been identified as being at risk for Lyme disease. There are areas with higher risk, but risk is risk no matter what.
In 2016, Nova Scotia reported the highest incidence of Lyme in Canada at 34.4 per 100,000 population, which is 12.7 times the national average. I feel the same holds true today but feel certain the incidence rate is higher.
Public awareness has grown yet help for those who become infected has been at a standstill in Canada. Lyme is a clinical diagnosis that can be supported by testing, yet testing is poor in Canada. No test is 100 percent. If the test is negative people are being told they do not have Lyme diseases. A negative test does not mean it could not be Lyme because the two-tier tests are structured to avoid false positives at the cost of increased false negatives. It has been stated that 56 per cent of patients with Lyme disease test negative using the two-tiered testing system recommended by the CDC. It is better to treat in the beginning rather than have the disease become chronic and have an uncertain outcome.
The controversy on treatment must change; there is up to date current scientific information. The duration of treatment must be long enough as Borrelia is a difficult bacterium to treat and the ticks often carry along many co-infections, viruses and parasites.
The Lyme Awareness event held on September 6 was well attended and a support group has been established to help continue the awareness. The Pictou County Lyme Support Group is a gathering for people with Lyme as well as their care givers to come together and support each other. It would also be good for those who are ill and have no definitive diagnosis. Lyme — aka the great impostor — mimics so many conditions. The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Little Harbour Community Hall. Meetings in the future are planned for the second Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m.
For questions and more information you can contact Amy Hayne-Desjardins at 902-759-1628 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Jennifer MacLean at 902-301-9227 email@example.com
There is also an upcoming free Lyme conference sponsored by the Lunenburg Lyme Association that will be held at the Bridgewater Cineplex the weekend of November 16-17. The Saturday session is for medical/health professionals and Sunday for the public. More details to follow later. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Change is coming, it is just very slow. Awareness is growing.
Education is key!