Bill 27 sets sights on Lyme disease

by Bill Hodgins | June 5, 2015

Bill 27 Lyme diseaseOntario’s provincial government took steps this week to enhance its efforts to educate people about Lyme disease.

What do I do if I find an attached tick?
Prompt removal of ticks from your skin will help prevent infection, since transmission of the Lyme disease agent usually requires the tick to be attached for more than 24 hours.
Using fine-tipped tweezers, carefully grasp the tick and pull it straight out.
Don’t squeeze it. Squeezing the tick can cause the Lyme disease agent to be accidentally introduced into your body.
Don’t put anything on the tick, or try to burn the tick off.
Thoroughly cleanse the bite site with rubbing alcohol and/or soap and water.
After the tick has been removed, place it in a screw-top bottle and take it to your doctor or local health unit.
Establishing the type of tick may help to assess your risk of acquiring Lyme disease.

With unanimous consent from all parties, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett’s infectious diseases bill (Bill 27) was passed. It calls on the government to establish guidelines for the prevention of vector-borne diseases through education and research.

Vector-borne diseases are those that rely upon organisms such as mosquitoes, ticks, or sandflies to transmit a pathogen from one host to another.

Barrett says the province needs to move forward with making decisions about treatment and diagnosis based on neutral, objective science. This legislation is set up to put a framework in place and allow experts to make the decisions, he says.

According to Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Lyme disease can have many symptoms if left untreated, ranging from a flu-like illness in the early stages, to more serious symptoms affecting the central nervous system, brain, or heart.

The Ministry says those who camp, fish, hike, or hunt should wear light-coloured clothing, avoid shrubs or grassy areas, wear long sleeves and long pants, and for extra protection, tuck pants into socks. It’s also recommended that people use a bug repellent containing DEET, though they should read the manufacturer’s instructions before applying the repellent on themselves or children.

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  1. Alana Shail wrote: It's all well and good to educate the public regarding Lyme Disease in Ontario, but when will we actually start educating the medical professionals in Ontario? As a sufferer of Chronic Lyme Disease, I have heard numerous accounts of the so-called "uneducated public" being bitten by a tick, removing the tick and then seeking medical attention as a prevention, only to be told by a physician that there is no chance of Lyme Disease! Example: patient bitten by tick, wife removed tick, within three days patient suffering from flu like symptoms and chest pains, patient went to doctor only to be told there was no bull's eye rash so it wasn't Lyme Disease! The physicians should do a quick read and realize that statistics now show that for every 100 people infected by Lyme only 30% will get a rash of any kind, and out of that 30% only 9% will get a bull's eye rash, do the math, that is roughly 3 people out of every 100 who will get the bull's eye rash!! My favourite was a friend of mine, an emergency room nurse, who had a tick embedded, removed it, went to emerge and was told by the doctor that unless she had been riding a deer for a month there was no way she could have contracted Lyme Disease. Four years of pure hell for her, wheelchair bound with two children under the age of ten, unable to work etc, and guess what??? She has Chronic Lyme Disease!!! Who is accountable to the hundreds, if not now thousands of people in Ontario suffering because the physicians fail to take their heads out of the sand and address this issue??? I myself was two years before I finally got a diagnosis (And I consider myself one of the lucky ones!). Two years of begging to test for Lyme Disease, two years of pain that had me immobilized, unable to work, unable to do things with my family, having to use a walker (on the very rare days that I actually felt like getting out of bed), unable to even take care of myself? All because a neurologist patted me on the head, sent me home several times telling me it was "unequivocally" not Lyme Disease, it was a migraine! The public is becoming more and more aware and is doing what the Ontario Government recommends, only to be turned away by the ignorant, uneducated physicians in this province!!!