When I moved to Canmore from Calgary in 1995, it was well known among my friends to check for ticks in the spring time after a day out in the mountains, because they could carry Rocky Mountain Fever. No one was very concerned about Lyme disease – we were taught that it didn’t exist in Alberta. That story is now changing. Lyme disease, a debilitating illness spreadby ticks, is on the rise worldwide and is spreading into new areas of Canada, including Alberta.
Identifying and Treating Lyme: a Puzzle for Canadians
The Canadian health care system is also mired in a controversy between the Infectious disease doctors of America (IDSA) standards of care and the standards developed by the international Lyme and associated diseases society (ILADS):
- The IDSA refutes the existence of chronic Lyme disease and the ability to treat a patient in the long-term.
- The ILADS trained doctors are treating chronic cases with high success rates and calling for a change in treatment protocols.
Opinions about Lyme disease therefore vary widely among Canadian doctors, confusing those seeking help. Also, Canadian standards currently presented to infectious doctors are based on the IDSA protocols, so they typically will not treat long term lyme, creating huge resource gaps for late stage Lyme patients. Many Canadians (including myself) seek help in the States because they cannot find a specialist in Canada.
The Good News
For more about Sarah’s story and for some insider Lyme prevention tips (including what to present to your doctor if they are hesitant to explore Lyme), visit Sarah’s blog at: foxnsox.wordpress.com.