To the Editor:
In 2017 all of Nova Scotia was declared to be at risk for Lyme disease.
What do you do if, after following all the precautions, you are bitten? Or have symptoms?
The first thing to do if you find an attached tick is to have it safely removed. Follow the information for removal or in some cases people visit their hospital, but at this time with COVID it is not that easy. The tick can be sent for testing but hospitals usually just dispose of the tick so it is up to you. Ticks can be sent for testing to Geneticks https://www.geneticks.ca/test and tested for more than just Lyme. Dr. Vett Lloyd at Mount A. https://www.lloydticklab.ca/submit-your-ticks.html has just started tick testing again and tests for just Lyme. Be sure to check out their details on submitting as well as the cost for testing.
The standard treatment given here in Nova Scotia for a new tick bite is two pills, not enough or at most one can get is 21 days, not enough. The Infectious Disease Society of America IDSA guidelines are what is being followed here in Nova Scotia but there are also the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society ILADS guidelines.
Borrelia, ie Lyme, is a complicated bacterial infection which needs more research.
The testing that Canada uses today is outdated and tests for only one strain of Borrelia when there are at least 16 other strains that can affect people. The tests from other countries such as the USA and Germany are not accepted in Canada.
There are many who have been dismissed by their family doctor and told to find someone else to help as well as some being escorted out of their hospital by police. Recently, those having no family doctor and when contacting the number for those with no family doctor are being told they were only for prescriptions or easy problems and to find their own help. Recently I heard of someone being tested for COVID-19 and was negative but what they have is Lyme. There is a crossover of other conditions with symptoms the same or similar to COVID-19. Unfortunately COVID-19 seems to have taken over everything with everything else being overlooked/ignored for the most part.
We can hope that once COVID-19 is behind us that these other conditions will get the attention they deserve. Conditions such as vector borne diseases ie Lyme, mental health issues, PTSD and others that are not going away.
Time for change in so many areas.
Education is key!