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Climate change brings Lyme disease to Canada

by GAIL JOHNSON on OCT 29, 2014

JIM WILSON, FOUNDER of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (CanLyme) was in an Ottawa hotel room, in lockdown, with his curtains drawn when the Georgia Straight caught up with him. It was October 22, that terrible day of the shootings at Parliament; Wilson had flown from B.C. to the nation’s capital to testify in front of a parliamentary committee regarding Bill C-442, an Act Respecting a Federal Framework on Lyme Disease.

Parliament resumed the day after the tragedy, but Wilson doesn’t know when discussion of the bill will be rescheduled. Until then, he’ll continue his fight to improve the detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of Lyme disease, which he has and which is the most common tick-borne illness in North America.

“It is so important that the patients—and they’re experts—be brought into the policymaking process,” Wilson said. “We’ve been dictated to by a really small group of Canadian specialists on Lyme disease who are part of the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada. They just put out a position statement on Lyme disease and it’s archaic.

“They don’t acknowledge the prevalence of Lyme disease,” he said. “It’s much more prevalent than what they’re reporting. They’re relying on the same old two-tiered testing process that is limited to looking for only one strain [of bacteria] of one species. What they’re doing right now is trying to calm the public into this state of complacency.”

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