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Global TV, Calgary : Lyme disease still a controversial diagnosis, as Alberta cases climb

By Health Reporter May 19th, 2014

CALGARY– Alberta Health officials are once again warning people to be on the lookout for ticks.

Last year, the province collected and analyzed 960 ticks, and found burgdorferi bacteria. The bacteria most commonly linked to Lyme disease is present in about 20 per cent of black-legged ticks.

Cases of Lyme disease are rising in Alberta. There were 19 confirmed cases in 2013, up from 8 in both 2012 and 2011. Alberta Health says all of the cases were acquired outside the province, but advocates believe narrow testing methods are leading to many cases of the infection being missed.

“I would certainly agree that it’s under diagnosed,” says Janet Sperling, a board member with the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation. “You have to have a positive ELISA and a positive Western blot, then you’re considered to be positive for Lyme disease. But that’s a really strict interpretation of what Lyme disease is.”

Watch entire Global TV segment

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