Time to fight tick borne dis­eases

Cape Breton Post - - OP-ED -

A Lyme dis­ease in­for­ma­tion ses­sion re­cently held in Bed­ford at­tracted more than 130 peo­ple. At the end of the evening, those present wanted to know what they could do to raise aware­ness about tick borne dis­eases in Nova Sco­tia and to en­sure that those bit­ten re­ceive a proper, and timely, di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment — in this province.

Be­cause of this dis­cus­sion, a Lyme pe­ti­tion was for­mu­lated and has been dis­trib­uted to all MLA con­stituency of­fices. It can be found in var­i­ous other ar­eas through­out the province. We are hop­ing to get as many sig­na­tures as pos­si­ble on the pe­ti­tion prior to the fall sit­ting of the Nova Sco­tia Leg­is­la­ture.

The pe­ti­tion has five ‘Asks’ of the gov­ern­ment:

1. PRO­VIDE Nova Sco­tians ac­cess to doc­tors trained to clin­i­cally di­ag­nose all stages of Lyme dis­ease, which is rec­om­mended by Health Canada, rather than re­ly­ing on the ELISA test which has sen­si­tiv­ity and speci­ficity lim­i­ta­tions ( http://www.hc- sc.gc.ca/dh­pmps/med­eff/bul­letin/carn­bcei_v22n4-eng.php#a1).

2. PRO­TECT doc­tors that clin­i­cally di­ag­nose and treat pa­tients un­til they are symp­toms free from pros­e­cu­tion by the Col­lege of Physi­cians and Sur­geons. Doc­tor’s hands are presently tied by the Col­lege and this has been proven to be harm­ful, detri­men­tal and even fa­tal to the res­i­dents of Nova Sco­tia. Many states in the United States have en­acted laws in this re­gard.

3. RE­QUEST that the min­is­ter of health meets im­me­di­ately, and at least once an­nu­ally there­after, with Lyme pa­tient ad­vo­cates. They are the eyes and ears re­gard­ing Lyme dis­ease in Nova Sco­tia.

4. UN­DER­TAKE a year­round aware­ness cam­paign such that all Nova Sco­tians be­come knowl­edge­able about ticks, their lo­ca­tions (ev­ery­where), what dis­eases/ in­fec­tions they can carry, how to pre­vent be­ing bit­ten, how to prop­erly re­move, how to land­scape to pre­vent, and so on.

5. EN­SURE that an ac­tive tick sur­veil­lance pro­gram is un­der­taken as per the ‘ Tick Borne Dis­eases Re­sponse Plan’ and that res­i­dents have easy ac­cess to this in­for­ma­tion.

Along with the MLA con­stituency of­fices, pe­ti­tions have been dropped off at var­i­ous health food stores, pet stores, vet­eri­nar­ian clin­ics, natur­opath of­fices, etc. Along with your sig­na­ture, we are also look­ing for peo­ple in all ar­eas of the province will­ing to help ob­tain sig­na­tures. You can con­tact any of those listed be­low for more in­for­ma­tion and the lo­ca­tions of pe­ti­tions.

The fol­low­ing peo­ple were in­volved with the for­mu­la­tion of the pe­ti­tion and also have copies avail­able for sign­ing: Rob Mur­ray (mur­rayr@east­link.ca); Paula Isenor, Heather Rolfe- Reid ( five­hbr@hot­mail.com); Brenda Stir­ling-Good­win ( black­ber­ry­brenda@hot­mail.com); Donna West, Lynn McCar­ron ( lynn. mccar­ron@ ya­hoo. com); and Donna Lu­gar (donna.lu­gar@ns.sym­pa­tico.ca).

Re­mem­ber, black- legged ticks can now be found through­out the province. You don’t need to be in an en­demic area to be bit­ten by a dis­ease car­ry­ing tick. Pro­tect your­self and stay safe. Make tick checks a reg­u­lar part of your rou­tine. Ticks can carry more than just Lyme so it’s in your best in­ter­est to pre­vent bites rather than try­ing to find out af­ter­wards what the tick was car­ry­ing.

Donna Lu­gar Bed­ford, N. S.

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