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Times Colonist, Victoria, BC, Canada: Lyme disease needs more research

Elizabeth May has achieved something of a miracle — the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands and the leader of the federal Green party got a private-member’s bill through Parliament with unanimous approval.

More important, the bill opens the door to better diagnosis and treatment of a serious disease that many say is a growing threat to the health of Canadians.

Times Colonist, Victoria, BC

May’s bill, passed by Parliament Wednesday, calls for a national strategy in public education, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, which is spread by ticks and can result in debilitating chronic illness if left untreated. If detected in its early stages, the infection can be successfully treated with a course of antibiotics.

The disease is relatively easily prevented by wearing suitable clothing when walking in long grass and underbrush (even in urban areas) and taking showers immediately after such excursions. Laundering or drying clothing on high heat also gets rid of ticks.

For David Cubberley of Saanich, the passage of May’s bill is good news.

He first became interested in Lyme disease while serving as an NDP MLA and opposition health critic. He met people concerned that the approach to Lyme disease by the public health system is deficient.

“They made me aware of the disease, problems with detection, problems getting treated,” says Cubberley, who is now B.C. director of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation.

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