Federal health officials sound alarm for Lyme disease 
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 Federal health officials sound alarm for Lyme disease

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Federal health officials sound alarm for Lyme disease
Last Updated Wed, 19 Apr 2006 14:21:05 EDT

CBC News

With ticks carrying Lyme disease bacteria turning up in new places in
Canada, doctors should look at the disease as a possible cause of
arthritic
and neurological ailments, federal health experts say.

The ticks live in tall grass or on the woodland floor. If a
Lyme-infected
tick bites, it can inject bacteria that cause serious illness, though
it's
rarely fatal.

After realizing there are more infected ticks than thought, the Public
Health Agency of Canada is reworking its guidelines on the diagnosis
and
treatment of Lyme disease. In the meantime, the agency is alerting
doctors.

"There's a theoretical possibility that patients in areas where we
hadn't
currently shown the ticks to be established could have Lyme disease,"
said
Harvey Artsob, a director of zoonotic diseases and special pathogens at
the
National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. "It's a relatively low
risk,
but the risk exists."

Ticks that carry Lyme disease are considered "established" around
Lunenberg,
N.S., along Lake Erie in Ontario, and parts of southern B.C.

An area near Halifax and one in southeastern Manitoba are also under
investigation for the ticks.

"We expect as our climate continues to warm and other factors come into
play, we're going to have an extension of our Lyme problem," said Dr.
Kevin
Forward, the head of microbiology for Capital Health in Halifax.

Diagnosis and treatment

Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose unless people develop the
tell-tale "bull's eye" rash. Other symptoms such as fatigue and joint
pain
can look like the flu or other conditions, and lab tests of {*filter*} are
imperfect.

If treated early with antibiotics, patients usually make a full
recovery.
But left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to chronic arthritis,
numbness and
paralysis.

Glenn Turner owns a woodlot in New Ross, N.S., near Lunenberg. When
Turner
was diagnosed with Lyme disease three years, it wasn't a mystery. He
had the
typical red spots on his chest, and was sick with fever and
hallucinations.

"You're in the woods, in the woodlot, the whole day long," said Turner,
who
was prescribed antibiotics and is now fine. "So I don't know what time
of
day I happened to pick the tick up at. Sometimes they can be on for
days
before you realize they're there."

Migratory birds can also bring Lyme-carrying ticks to areas where the
{*filter*}suckers aren't established.

Copyright ? CBC 2006

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Sat, 25 Oct 2008 08:15:09 GMT
 
 [ 1 post ] 

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