A Close Up Of An Adult Female, An Adult Male, Nymph And Larva Tick Is Shown June 15, 2001. Ticks Cause An Acute Inflammatory Disease Characterized By Skin Changes, Joint Inflammation, And Flu-Like Symptoms Called Lyme Disease. Photograph by Stock

BY GWEN BARLEE, TIMES COLONIST JULY 5, 2012 Two weeks ago, something remarkable happened. Dr. Robbin Lindsay, a research scientist with the Public Health Agency of Canada, said he feared a “disease explosion” in regards to Lyme disease, a serious tick-borne infection now found throughout southern Canada.

Climate change has created more hospitable habitat for ticks that carry Lyme disease and, increasingly, infected ticks are found in higher numbers and in areas they weren’t found before.

Lyme disease is a serious infection. If a person bitten by an infected tick is treated promptly and robustly with antibiotics, the disease can be stopped in its tracks. However, if the disease is left untreated or misdiagnosed, the bacteria moves quickly out of the bloodstream into joints, cartilage and even into the brain, becoming an entrenched infection that can leave people in wheelchairs.

Lyme disease is known as the “great imitator” because it is a multi-system infection that mimics other chronic diseases like multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis and even deadly Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is problematic to diagnose – the standard blood tests in Canada are notoriously unreliable. Matters are further complicated by the fact that many medical practitioners in Canada still believe Lyme disease is a rare and easy-to-treat condition.

Although the disease has exploded in the United States over the past 20 years, culminating in more than 30,000 diagnosed or suspected cases in 2010, here in Canada, where infected ticks seem to stop at the border, only 150 cases are diagnosed annually. Lack of medical knowledge, combined with inaccurate blood tests, has resulted in misdiagnosis and forced many infected Canadians to go south of the border and pay for medical treatment they should be able to get in Canada.

See full link: