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  1. #1
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    Lyme-spreading ticks so common that some places have stopped testing

    Lyme-spreading ticks so common thanks to mild winters, some places stop testing
    by Mia Rabson, National Post
    July 18, 2019

    tick.jpg
    This March 2002 file photo shows a deer tick under a microscope in the entomology lab
    at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, R.I. Lyme disease has settled so
    deeply into parts of Canada many public health units now just assume if you get bitten
    by a tick, you should be treated for lyme disease. Victoria Arocho / ASSOCIATED PRESS


    OTTAWA — Lyme disease has settled so deeply into parts of Canada many public health units now just assume if you get bitten by a tick, you should be treated for Lyme disease.

    In Ottawa, where more than two-thirds of the ticks tested in some neighbourhoods carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, the public-health unit no longer bothers to test ticks at all.

    Dr. Vera Etches, the unit’s top doctor, said that in 2016 and 2017 more than one-fifth of black-legged ticks tested in Ottawa came back positive for Lyme.

    “That’s a threshold,” she said. “Once you know that more than 20 per cent of the ticks in your area carry Lyme disease bacteria then we don’t need to check in on that. That is what we now call an ‘at-risk area.’ ”

    That means if a tick is found on a person, and is believed to have been there for more than 24 hours, then the patient should get antibiotics to prevent Lyme infection, even without any testing of the tick. It takes 24 hours before bacteria in the tick’s gut move to its salivary glands and are transferred to a person.

    After three days, the preventive treatment won’t work so patients then wait for symptoms or enough time for antibodies to evolve to show up on a test. It can take more than a month before symptoms appear. They’re mostly similar to the effects of influenza, including fever and aches, as well as — usually but not always — a rash. It typically takes just about as long for the immune system’s antibodies to show up on a lab test.

    If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause serious illnesses such as meningitis, but Etches is quick to point out that because it is caused by a bacteria, it’s treatable with drugs.

    “It’s a good-news story, actually, that there is antibiotics that work to treat Lyme disease,” she said.

    Most public-health offices in Canada used to test ticks submitted by the public, as well as conducting their own surveillance by actively seeking out tick populations and testing them. Some, including Ottawa’s, have decided now that Lyme is endemic, they should shift to public education and prevention as well as treatment.

    Lyme disease was named after the town of Lyme, Conn., where the first case was diagnosed in 1975. It is caused by bacteria that are traded back and forth among black-legged ticks and migratory birds and small mammals like mice and chipmunks. Ticks bite birds and small mammals infected with the bacteria and get infected and then spread the disease when they bite their next victims.

    Before 10 years ago, most of the cases diagnosed in Canada were in people bitten by ticks while travelling in the United States. But climate change has led to southern Canada seeing milder winters, which means the ticks that migrate to Canada on the backs of migratory birds are now surviving the winter in larger numbers, spreading the Lyme-causing bacteria more rapidly.

    Canada started keeping track of Lyme disease cases in 2009, when 144 cases were confirmed or considered probable. Only 79 of those cases were believed to have been contracted in Canada.

    In 2017, more than 1,400 cases were confirmed or probable across the country, more than two-thirds of them in Ontario and most of them believed to have been contracted locally.

    National statistics for 2018 are not yet available but in Ontario, the number actually fell significantly, from 967 in 2017 to 612 in 2018. Etches said that was because 2018 was hotter and drier than 2017, and ticks thrive in wet, cool weather.

    A 2014 study by the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases at the University of Manitoba suggested the Lyme-carrying ticks are expanding their territory by about 46 km a year, an expectation being borne out in health units’ mapping.

    In 2017 and 2018, Point Pelee National Park near Windsor, Ont., was considered to be an at-risk region but the rest of Windsor-Essex County in Ontario’s southernmost tip was not. In 2019, almost all of the county has been added as an at-risk area.

    In 2017 all of Nova Scotia was declared to be at risk for Lyme Disease.

    In New Brunswick, six of 15 counties were declared at-risk as of 2018.

    There are also at-risk areas for Lyme in southern Manitoba, northwestern Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. While some cases of Lyme have been found in the other four provinces, the numbers are very low and mostly contracted elsewhere.

  2. #2
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    Re: Lyme-spreading ticks so common that some places have stopped testing

    On a related note, I still don't understand why the average hotel stay around Martha's Vineyard is almost $500 a night when they are well known for having Lyme disease in the area:

    Forget rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, you’re more likely to get Lyme disease on the island.

    Ticked Off on Martha's Vineyard | Hakai Magazine
    On the positive side:

    For most, the disease is easily treated and cured, as many studies have shown, and parents have no cause for panic.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/27/w...diagnosis.html

  3. #3
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    Re: Lyme-spreading ticks so common that some places have stopped testing

    The condition is easily treated if antibiotics are started fairly soon after being bitten. The problem that @forgetmenot has been expressing is that in her region doctors are relying on tests known for false negatives, or possibly they are discounting her concerns about her daughter because of her daughter's mental health history. Based on the position being taken in Ottawa, both reasons for not prescribing antibiotics seem unsupportable.

  4. #4
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    Re: Lyme-spreading ticks so common that some places have stopped testing

    From the NY Times article:

    About 80 percent of people develop a classic spreading rash, known as erythema migrans, in the first week or two after the tick bite. Among those who don’t have this rash, or miss it because it’s somewhere inconspicuous, most go on to develop Lyme arthritis — typically a single warm swollen knee. (Others typically get better on their own and may never know they had Lyme disease at all.) Some may develop facial palsy or, in rare cases, meningitis.

    The recommended treatment, a monthlong course of antibiotics, is effective regardless of the stage.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/27/w...diagnosis.html

  5. #5
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    Re: Lyme-spreading ticks so common that some places have stopped testing

    Took my girl to her doctors appointment today she was not able to make it there on her own.

    I let doctor know it is me who gets her out of bed each morning if i did not do that she would not make it to her work or to appointments.

    i asked about a second blood test for lymes she ask me if a tick bite was found or a tick i said no but the modelling the bruising signs were on her right arm and that the cough she now has had for two weeks won't go away.

    The pain in joints decreased because she is now high mania as she halfed her lithium dose because she was told it was probably lithium making her joints so painful. In high mania you don't feel anything ok the pain is there but one does not feel it. Now mania is gone the painful joints are still there.

    Doctor gave her a puffer for cough and cream for rash on her inner thighs Said she would wait to retest for lymes. I am sorry but it is lymes i saw the modelling on arm i see the progression of the disease but they won't listen.

    I was going to hand over all the writing i have collected about the illness including one of a Oshawa lady who contacted it and she did not even know she was bitten. It was again United states lab that tested her blood and it came back positive. WHY IS CANADA not listening why are they making people wait when they have the symptoms NOT all people find dam tick or the bite but the symptoms are there.
    I was told by one doctor she would lose her license is she went ahead and treated my girl with antibiotic without proof. The symptoms are the dam proof.

    Im tired now took my girl to dental apt as well pharmacist etc. They won't listen i am able to see ok i take in so much i do something i have always been able to do is to observe

    i hope this illness goes away she has too much to deal with already im tired now

    Hard i miss my ma i miss talking to her im tired i just want them to help her before she gets worse.

    I have done all i can today see her psychiatrist next week sometime

    My girl continues to say she wants to end her life she wants peace i totally understand her but i cannot convey that to her just have to let her know i will not give up trying to get her help.
    Words always stay inside ones soul

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