Time to fight tick borne diseases
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 (email@example.com); Paula Isenor, Heather Rolfe- Reid ( firstname.lastname@example.org); Brenda Stirling-Goodwin ( email@example.com); Donna West, Lynn McCarron ( lynn. mccarron@ yahoo. com); and Donna Lugar (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.