Outdoor activity brings increased dangers of ticks

Opinion

To the Editor:

We are travelling through challenging times at the moment with hope that this, too, shall change.

There are those who believe and speak of things being a myth, hoax, scam or conspiracy such as global warming, COVID-19, Lyme disease and many others things including the flat earth vs round earth. Some of these things are relatively new and more study/research is required in seeking the truth.

Let’s bring our attention to vector borne diseases, ie Lyme disease as May is Lyme disease awareness month. Information is out there to help people with awareness and prevention, yet there is little in the way of treatment. We are all unique individuals and unfortunately there is no quick fix. Lyme disease can become chronic. Early treatment is essential to prevent the bacteria from establishing in the body. The bacterium can become established in every organ/system of the body and once this happens eradicating it can be very difficult.

Attachment time has been said to be 24 to 36 hours. This is old, unproven information. The tick can start to transfer pathogens as soon as it attaches and the longer it is attached the greater the risk. Proper removal is important because if the tick it agitated it is not good and if it is squeezed it is like getting a hypodermic injection.

Lyme is a clinical diagnosis that can be supported by testing but a positive test is not necessary. If you develop a bull’s eye rash it is enough to say Lyme. Not every rash is a bull’s eye as most are atypical rashes. It has been said that 90 per cent develop a bull’s eye rash but more recent studies have shown this is not so and that as few as 18 per cent can develop this rash. The testing used is not perfect and it has been shown that 38-68 per cent of cases are missed. The testing is for only one or two strains of Borrelia in Canada while there are at least 16 possible strains that can infect people.

It is past time for more study and research on Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato with hope of better testing and treatments. The number of people undiagnosed/misdiagnosed is growing and they need help now.

People are becoming more active in the outdoors as some of the restrictions due to COVID-19 have been lifted. The ticks are out there and active as people out fishing are commenting on ticks. One person came home and had 22 ticks on himself after catching 23 trout.

In the not so distant future we hope for change and for now, Lyme advocates are work to spreading awareness.

Education is key!

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin

New Glasgow