Lyme Disease Legislation: There ought to be a law, and there is!

On Friday, May 1st, 2015 in Articles by Elizabeth, Publications
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Readers of Vitality magazine will know that May is Lyme Disease awareness month. This magazine has done a real public service by educating people about Lyme disease for years. My own journey to understand the threat of Lyme disease started in 2007 when one of my neighbours in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, told me why she was in a wheelchair. It was not what I had ever imagined could happen from Lyme Disease. Brenda Sterling’s story really shocked me. She went from being healthy and active to being wheelchair-bound. And she told me it was because of a bite from a tiny tick. But what was most shocking was that, once she discovered the source of her illness – Lyme disease – the medical establishment in Nova Scotia did not believe her. “You cannot have Lyme disease,” they told her. “We do not have Lyme disease in Nova Scotia.”

When I moved to Vancouver Island, I ran into more people with the virtually identical experience. Over and over again, I heard the same story: “You cannot have Lyme disease. We do not have Lyme disease on Vancouver Island.” And I heard, over and over again,“You won’t believe this, but I had to go to the U.S. for treatment.” Tragically, I heard this more than once, as well as, “We sold our house to get the treatment we needed in the U.S.”

What I found baffling was the resistance, from some in the provincial health departments and some family doctors, to taking Lyme disease seriously. Unlike my decades of experience fighting toxic pesticides and herbicides like Agent Orange, there was no profit motive to explain the rigidity of this resistance. When spokespersons for Dow or Monsanto made claims that Agent Orange was safe enough to drink, I knew I was dealing with the profit motive and experts for hire. But this Lyme situation made no sense. Lyme disease was clearly spreading in Canada. The science regarding the climate crisis lined up with the experience of Lyme disease.

I have been working on climate change issues for decades now as well. Early reports from the mid-1980’s referred to the reality that a warming climate would bring with it an increase in vector-borne diseases. We used to point to malaria and Dengue fever as increased risks. But for Canadians, the first significant public health impact has been from Lyme.

It was not that our doctors and health agencies were deliberately misleading those patients who came to them with the debilitating symptoms of Lyme. It was that when these doctors and experts had gone to medical school there was no such thing as Lyme disease. Its rapid spread, due to climate change, meant that what they thought they knew was no longer true.

The Birth of a Private Member’s Bill (PMB)

The frequency with which I ran into Lyme disease patients, and heard their heart-wrenching stories, made me realize we had an orphan issue. Nowhere near enough attention was being paid to this growing illness. One of my most fervent supporters, a former Conservative, Fraser Smith, also had a family member suffering with Lyme. Even as I campaigned for the seat representing Saanich-Gulf Islands, an idea began to form in my mind. If I had one crack at a private member’s Bill (PMB) in parliament, I would make it a Bill to help people with Lyme disease.

Generally speaking, private members’ Bills do not pass. In fact, the general experience is that fewer than 2% of such bills ever become law.

I started work on my Bill right away.

There were jurisdictional considerations. No federal law can interfere with areas of provincial jurisdiction. Health care delivery is federal, but coordinating a federal strategy with other levels of government that is within the federal Bill is not allowed to require the spending of money. The parliamentary system has House of Commons ‘drafters’ who work with Members of Parliament to develop their Bills. We went to work to craft a Bill that I believed could receive all party support.

The next question: When would I be able to have my Bill put forward for a vote? This is determined by a lottery. Yes, an actual lottery in which each MP not within the Cabinet gets a numbered ranking for putting Bills forward. I got number 150. Not as good as number 1, but a lot better than number 280!

In developing the Bill, I consulted with members of the medical community, experts in public health, and the Canada Lyme Found-ation. We decided to structure the Bill around the creation of a federal strategy with several components: Better prevention through public awareness, better detection and diagnosis, better data collection, and work to find a cure for those who were experiencing long term issues as a result of Lyme disease.

Given the high emotions around the terminology, I decided not to take a position on whether long term illness is described as “chronic Lyme” or as “post-Lyme disease.” I needed as much support as possible to get the Bill passed, so I avoided entering into battles over labeling.

Support from Politicians and the Public

The way the Bill would work was to set a strict time limit on how long after the Bill passed that the Minister of Health would take to hold a national meeting, involving all key medical and expert groups, federal, provincial and territorial health ministers, and representatives from the Lyme disease community. With everything checked, i’s dotted, t’s crossed, in English and in French, I was all set to submit the Bill for First Reading in June 2012. I was supposed to have a time slot for First Reading on one of the last days of the June sitting. I happened to overhear other MPs talking about early adjournment. I went to the other party whips to make it clear I would not consent to early adjournment unless my Lyme disease Bill went to First Reading before the summer recess. It was a near miss, but we got the Bill tabled.

That was essential, as a Bill accepted for tabling cannot be shared publicly until after it receives First Reading. I knew that, in order to pass the Bill, we would need tons of support from across Canada. The best way to do that was to ask the Lyme disease community to help us by taking copies of petitions we had drafted in my office, getting them signed locally, and taking them to their MPs to explain the issue. Our plan was to start with petitions across the country over the summer of 2012. We nearly lost that chance with the early adjournment, but thanks to good luck and help across the House, I got the Bill through First Reading moments before an early adjournment.

Fairly quickly, the other opposition parties – the Official Opposition NDP and the Liberals – told me they would support the Bill. NDP Health Critic (at that time) Libby Davies promised full NDP support. Kirstie Duncan,  Liberal MP with a background in health issues and a champion for MS patients, was also quick to help.

Over the summer, the Lyme disease community got thousands of signatures on petitions. At the same time, my office was overwhelmed with letters and phone calls from Canadians from coast to coast sending us heart-wrenching stories and offering support for the Bill. Media stories also began to increase, using Bill C-442, the act to create a federal Lyme Disease Strategy, as a ‘hook’. Some even told me that my Bill was already a success – whether it passed or not – because it had increased awareness. But I was never prepared to settle for less than getting the Bill passed.

Support continued to build. It was always critical to obtain endorsements from credible ‘Establishment’ experts. We were grateful for letters of support from the Nurses Association, and from family physicians across Canada, but the major endorsement from the Canadian Medical Association was powerful.

The president of the Canadian Medical Association, Louis Hugo Francescutti, had this to say:

“Diagnosis of Lyme disease can be difficult because signs and symptoms can be non-specific and found in other conditions. If Lyme disease is not recognized during the early stages, patients may suffer a seriously debilitating disease that may be more difficult to treat.”

I had been hoping for support from the Minister of Health. Clearly, a private member’s Bill from the Green Party would not have a hope if the majority of Conservative votes were whipped to vote against my Bill. Even though it is a parliamentary tradition not to whip votes against PMB’s, I had seen it happen all the time. To get my Bill past Second Reading and into committee, we had to have support from the Conservatives. Individual Conservative MPs were quick to offer support. Terence Young from Oakville had knowledge of Lyme from his own crusading work on health issues. Brad Butt, Gordon Brown, Dave Tilson, Michael Chong, and John Williamson were early allies in the Conservative Caucus – but that would all be for naught if the Bill was opposed by the Minister of Health.

In July 2013, Stephen Harper shuffled his Cabinet. Someone I had always liked, and for whom I had respect and a positive working relationship, was appointed Minister of Health – Rona Ambrose coming into the portfolio was, no doubt, a lucky break. As soon as the House resumed in the fall, I sought her out to tell her about Bill C-442 and the human toll of Lyme disease. I also wanted her to know that my approach was completely non-partisan; that I was flexible about any changes she might want. I was immediately encouraged by her positive response. She committed to looking at it.

By spring 2014, everything began to come together. Health Minister Rona Ambrose committed to supporting the Bill, with me making only slight amendments. The first big hurdle was cleared on April 29, 2014 when we received unanimous support to send the Bill to committee. The hearings before the Health committee were positive and helpful.

The experts from the Public Health Agency provided strong support for action. Steven Sternthal, Acting Director General for the infectious disease branch, told the committee: “The spread of Lyme disease is driven, in part, by climate change, as the tick vector spreads northwards from endemic areas of the United States. Moving into Canada, it is impacting our most densely populated regions. Based on the lessons learned in the United States, we anticipate the disease will affect over 10,000 Canadians per year by the 2020s.”

The most impressive witnesses were likely Chris Powell and her daughter, Nicole Bottles. Nicole is one of those southern Vancouver Island Lyme disease patients who had prompted me to champion this cause in the first place. Their evidence was compelling. Nicole uses a wheelchair. Her charm and wit shine through, even when describing how ill she became while no medical help came forward. Her mother said through her tears that, if they had not sold their home and gone to the U.S. for treatment, she was sure Nicole would not be here today.

No witnesses testified who wanted any changes beyond those that the Minister of Health proposed, and which I supported. No one came forward criticizing Bill C-442. The Bill was reported back to the House where, thanks to cooperation from MPs on all sides of the House (letting my Bill jump through some hoops, and allowing some PMBs to wait until after mine had received its final vote), the Bill passed the House of Commons unanimously on June 11, 2014!

Opposition from Experts

However, the fight was just starting. Experts in Infectious Diseases started a media campaign against C-442 just as it went to the Senate. I asked an old friend, Senator Janis Johnson of Winnipeg, to sponsor my Bill and steer it through the Senate.

The committee hearings were set to begin in the fall and I was to be the first witness. I had pleaded with the experts  in infectious diseases to understand the process. They raised a last-minute objection in the preamble. I explained that the preamble was not something we could amend in the Senate (as a matter of procedure, this could only be done if the whole Bill was overhauled to such an extent that the preamble no longer made sense). I was nervous knowing that the Bill would now have experts opposing it.

The morning of the first day of Senate hearings dawned. Who could have known on October 22nd that the events of that day would overshadow everything else? Instead of being in the senate to testify, I was in lock-down for ten hours on Parliament Hill. The police and security guards carefully searched every nook and cranny of Parliament Hill to be certain that the ‘now-dead gunman’ had no accomplices.

When the House resumed the next day, the Health Committee of the Senate had other business. I became nervous that my Bill would not get through the Senate before the Christmas recess.

Fortunately, once again, luck was with us. The Senate hearings took place just before I had to leave for the climate negotiations in Lima, Peru. The members of the Health Committee were strongly supportive. Senator Larry Campbell and Senator Janis Johnson had been making sure the Senate was supportive. Coincidentally, many members of the Senate had friends or relatives who had experience with Lyme disease.

Even in the face of witnesses demanding the Bill be rejected, it sailed through the committee with no amendments. Bill C-442 was passed in the Senate on December 12 and received Royal Assent on December 16, 2014. It is the law. Now we wait for the Minister of Health to convene the national conference to develop the strategy. In the meantime, Minister Rona Ambrose has committed $5 million from Health Canada to better respond to Lyme disease federally. There is much more that needs to be done, but this is a first step. And it could never have happened without the work of Lyme disease patients and their families.

Current Status

The passing of Bill C-442 has created a Federal Strategy for Lyme Disease. Now that the Bill is law, the federal Minister of Health is required to convene a federal/provincial/territorial conference, including medical experts and representatives of the Lyme Disease community, before the end of 2015. The goals include: develop better strategies for prevention, speedy diagnosis, best standard of care for treatment, and further data collection and research.

Originally published in Vitality Magazine: http://www.vitalitymagazine.com/article/lyme-disease1/

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  • Wendy Gedney

    Congrats, Elizabeth!! And keep on the Minister of Health to get that conference going asap to set the strategies to improve the situation for prevention & fast diagnosis & treatment of Lyme Disease.

  • HereHere

    This is the best summary of Lyme disease prevention I’ve seen:
    http://canlyme.com/lyme-prevention/

    If you hike or camp, this is just stuff you now have to know, before you leave the house.

  • Roger Elmes

    BZ (Well Done) Elizabeth. I hope that your excellent work will be the catalyst for a much higher level of activity and research to more readily, accurately and quickly diagnose Lyme Disease so that unnecessary use of antibiotics (my experience) can be prevented and accurate early diagnosis can lead to better outcomes. Hopefully it will also lead to better treatment regimes. How about a Chair of Excellence in a major research university to support the work of Can Lyme?

    Roger Elmes
    White Rock BC

  • John M Rodgers

    My Undying admiration for you and your work. As a retired physician and a patient on Vancouver Island with Lyme Disease, I was told there was no Lyme on Vancouver Island by my family doctor, and I was not treated appropriately. Today I suffer from this disease which could have been so easily prevented. My life has been totally altered and not for the better. Since I got no help from the medical community (even though I was once a member) I had to resort to educating myself and managing my own testing and treatment. The cost is huge both financially , emotionally and physically.
    I will do whatever I can to prevent this from happening to anyone else, and so I support you wholeheartedly. God Bless you, Elizabeth May, for wanting to make a difference in so many ways.
    J. Martin Rodgers MD FRCP

  • Marie Lloyd

    A thousand thanks, Elizabeth May!

  • Jeffery Bucove

    I am curious as to whom these “Experts in Infectious Diseases” were, what their motivations were, and what arguments against C-442 they presented to substantiate their ‘demands’ that the bill be rejected.

  • Jennifer Svendsen

    I lost one of my best friends, Kathy, to Lyme disease last July, 2014. She was 51 years old and a single mother of two great kids. They believe she contracted it in Halifax about 5 years previously. But they could not diagnose it here in Alberta, but finally they got a positive result at the Mayo Clinic in the USA. Unfortunately for Kathy, it was then too late to treat her, even though they tried. She died because of the ignorance of our medical system. 30 years ago, we had no Lyme ticks in Eastern Canada… now they are everywhere. 2 Years ago, we had no Lyme ticks in Alberta, Last year they found several…. They hibernate and also come in on the migratory birds. Within a few years, we’ll be swarming with them here too. We need a vaccine for this and a cure ASAP.

  • Brian Turner

    Away back in 1957, after a day of being out with a survey crew, I was having a shower, when I found something sticking out from my armpit. Fortunately one of the guys recognized it as a tick, so I know how easy it would be to become affected by Lyme disease. This was in Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island. We used the old technique of providing heat to make the tick back out.

  • Pashta MaryMoon

    Please continue the great work on Lyme Disease — but extended to those of us who have M.E./CFIDS. As you probably know, there are no physicians who specialize in M.E. on Vancouver Island. And the long-awaited clinic — for Lyme Disease and M.E./CFIDS, and first in Canada — at the Women’s Hospital lost most of its M.E. staff, due to the directors not be willing to allow the physicians to properly assess their patients. As a result, people with M.E./CFIDS all over Canada — but especially Vancouver Island — remain without any care for their disease at all.

  • Colleen Voisin

    This was so well-meaning, inspiring and well executed. I’m impressed. On a separate note, as a wellness practitioner since 1984, first in massage therapy and since then acquiring education to practice in other health areas: I received additional training from a naturopathic doctor from Montreal 4 years ago who specializes in treating and helping people who have contracted Lyme disease. She used EFT (a.k.a.Tapping), which is an old technique and it’s amazing benefits are not widely known in Canada yet. I was seeking additional training to my certification in EFT. I began widening my scope of practice as a result of her enlightening us of the problem of Lyme and the danger of antibiotics over-use. Since then I have read about more success in that area and am seeing also positive results in my practice when teaching and coaching clients using EFT for many of these types of afflictions. A subtle but elegant tool that works to relieve symptoms. It sounds simplistic if you search it on Google, but I would suggest it is not effective to use it on yourself with a condition as serious as Lyme. Find someone knowledgeable and learn to measure the results. Remember, feeling relief and acknowledging it is part of healing as well. Good luck everyone and thank you, Ms. May, for such effort and accomplishment to benefit all of us in Canada.

    Colleen Voisin CDP
    Waterloo ON

    • Carole Knopp

      yes i use EFT for everything and its proven very effective for myself and others

    • mathyeti

      EFT has no benefit as a therapy beyond the placebo effect or any known-effective psychological techniques that may be provided in addition to the purported “energy” technique.[3] It is generally characterized as pseudoscience and has not garnered significant support in clinical psychology. – Wikipedia

  • Ming

    My sister who lives in the States had told me of this Lyme disease a few years ago when someone she knew contracted this disease. Like here, there was disbelief from the medical people and it took some time before this person was properly diagnosed. It is a rather scary disease and it is mind boggling why the medical people are not taking it seriously – here or in the States!

  • Bill

    Congrats to you Elizabeth May for getting this Bill Passed. C-442 Is a very serious matter for all of Canada. They say MS Is on the rise In Canada. Or Is It Lyme,s Disease ? We need a test that works In Canada. Sad that the Medical community attacked the best Lyme,s researchers, and Doctors That Canada has On Lyme,s Disease.Because they did not follow what the medical community set as a guide line for using Antibiotics to treat their patients. Doctor Murikumi of the Murikumi Centre – Hope BC. Is probably the best In Canada, when It comes to Lymes Disease Knowledge. Also the Babesiosis Disease, also related to ticks. He was able to treat his patients using longer than recommend doses of Antibiotics. To treat both Diseases, and had people In wheel chairs Up and walking. Yet there Is no money In Antibiotics, Like treatment of MS = Big Money. Doctor Murikumi should be brought In to Discuss his years of knowledge, and Experience with Lyme,s Disease In Canada. We need Doctor Murikumi and his knowledge and statistics, to teach Doctors and the Health Community In Canada regarding Lyme and Babesiosis Disease from Ticks. So Sad what they did to Doctor Murikumi, for not following the USA Guidelines on the 3 weeks of Antibiotics only. Yet he cured many, that many could not cure following these guidelines set by the Health Community Of Canada.We need Western Blot Testing Done In Canada for Tick born Diseases. Thank You Elizabeth and many others for bringing this matter to light. Against much opposition, you did what needed to be done for all Canadians. You are a real Canadian, who Is looking out for the best Interest of Canadians and not your own protection from retribution. It Is time for the Medical Community to really dig Into this Disease, that does exist In Canada.More Doctors want to deal with the truth, That Is what real Doctors do.Unless they are Text book Puppets. And only do what they are told to do, Thanks again Elizabeth from all of Canada.

    • mathyeti

      “Lyme disease” is named for the town of Lyme, Connecticut where it was first identified.

  • john Ferris

    In 1995 I was diagnosed with lime disease in Fergus on. turned out to be a..a.poison ivy.
    My daughter has had Lyme for many years

  • Jo. Unrau

    Thanks for all the things you’re doing to help us. We live on the island & I didn’t know we had Lyme disease here. The Greens seem to be the only ones who care what happens to Canada & Canadians. We will be voting for you again this year. Hopefully we’ll do better this time around.

  • Kim Greene- DesLauriers

    Congratulations Elizabeth May on a job so well done & a issue so well persevered. You have done a remarkable job as an MP in general. The diagnosis of Lyme disease at its early stage is so important as too often this issue is misdiagnosed as MS. Experts such as Doctor Murikumi of the Murikumi Centre – Hope BC need to be included in the discussion so that accurate diagnosis & treatment is offered.
    Please continue your excellent work Ms. May -you are a remarkable person & you are making a big difference in representing Canadians!

  • grandmother

    Thank you Elizabeth. I also know people with Lyme Disease, and a long time friend has died after suffering great disability because of it.

  • Clara Valverde

    Greetings from Spain! The work you are doing on Lyme’s is very important. No awareness here about it, although many people who have Myalgic Encephalomielitis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) who have gone to Germany for treatment, have been found to also have Lyme’s (along with many other virus reactivations: EBV, CMV, HHV6). Would love to have the bibliography about how climate change increases vector-borne diseases. Thanks!

  • Paola

    Well done!!!

  • Sandra Tracy

    I would like to thank Elizabeth May, MP for her great work on this disease. Many of us received the word that there was no such thing as lyme disease, be it chronic or otherwise. I have suffered for 20 years with this disease, according to my doctor in the US, and it was diagnosed as fibromyalgia. Of course there wasn’t a lot of support for that disease either. I have been taking treatment for 3 years now through the US and Halifax, NS, and thankfully others did believe. I am still fighting with my LTD provider because they didn’t believe the six doctors who said I was unable to work. I have spent thousands of dollars for lawyers trying to fight this claim, but am still waiting for it to be settled. We need advocates to represent us when issues like this come up. Could someone out there look into finding professionals who would be willing to represent those with less means than others.

  • Todd Millions

    Elizabeth-Good work.We are however a ‘democracy ‘only in appearences-So some mail beneath the velvet is a prerequiste for anything needed or actually useful.The appearence of doing something won’t due in this case-and last fed election,was a choice betwixt 3 Treasonous isreali agents for PM,one of them won-suprise!Looks to me like a sequel is in the works.Dear Justin’s memories may not reach back to Oct 1970-but he certianly should have heard of it by now(note to his mum?).You wouldn’t think so by his reaction to the engineered shootout at the library corral.
    On that note-circumstantial evidence is continuing too float out of our memory hole; that this paticular infection may be a biowar project that got out of hand.Operation paper clip and concentration camp work with spiders.If so the jump too ticks may not have being a large one.If that is the case-antigen stocks for treatment and vaccine may be already avaiable(Europe and/or Russia).It would be best if such possibly only vetrienary sources be checked and publiclly marked BEFORE monsanto forms a partnership with reynolds tobacco (see;Zmapp)and attempts to pull an AZT (expired cat leukimia to aids treatment renewal)style patent scam. Which the abortions you share the house in Notalot with ,would do- for a less than the CIA can rent a German editor for.
    Which one of said editors is reporting(in German), is not quite as much as a Hamburg hooker costs!
    Bon Chance and cheers.
    ‘born in a whoreocracy’ Todd Millions bx712EastendSKsonoto

  • Gyan Millar

    I remember wondering what the circular rash was from on my late wife. We were both puzzled, could it have been a spider bite ? Only years later, after she was diagnosed in the US, did we learn that she had been bitten by a tick and had Lyme disease. Had we been informed earlier that it was possible to get Lyme on Gabriola Is. BC, we would have sought immediate treatment. Due to the lack of information on this very public health risk my spouse had to endure the pain and confusion that comes from the disease until finally someone suggested that she seek a diagnoses for Lyme. The public must be better informed and now that denial of the presence of Lyme has occurred, other people will not have to suffer needlessly and can seek immediate treatment. Thank-you, Elizabeth May for your work on this.

  • Tanner Heights

    That is fantastic…I have costed the medical system close to a million dollars, a quad by pass being the most expensive hit..I have tested positive for Lyme and confections in the U.S. and have not gotten any treatment or help in B.C…Who knows when I will need more surgeries etc? It is costing the health care system more to not treat me…Its death or more costly surgeries and what not..Its so sad for all of us and the tax payers…I have no money to go elsewhere for any treatment.Jason.

    PS..Thank you so much for this bill and progress..God bless

    • opinus

      I treat my lyme infection successfully with a frequency generator (either the Reif machines or the zapper) – good luck.

  • Ralph Whitman

    I was bitten by a deer tick, which carries Lyme disease. Luckily, that tick did not carry it. I feel sorry for the victims of this disease.

  • Star Firewitch

    Its amazing that you take the time to explain the proceedings of the things you do and bring forward in Parliment to the general public.
    I wouldn’t imagine Harper or anyone else would do such a thing for us.
    I have a great admiration for you Elizabeth. Keep doing what you are doing. You’ve got my vote and support.

  • Jane Agnew

    Elizabeth May you are such a soldier, I am shamed by your relentless fight for the best outcome for Canada and Canadians. How do you keep your hopeful good nature ? I applaud your work on Lyme disease and believe that the co-ordinated efforts of the Provinces and Territories will change the treatment protocols for Lyme.
    Just to illuminate the fear (and I do mean fear) shown by infectious disease experts, they are daunted by the ability of this bacterium to change its surface proteins. They use these proteins to identify a bacterium and so, short of doing a DNA analysis they will be unable to identify the markers in an infected human. Western Blot will only work if the Blot was created to identify the exact surface proteins being exhibited by the bacterium at the time when the blood sample was taken. This is akin to microbiology meeting its Waterloo. This is why Ms. May’s suggestion that we defer to treatment with Doxycyline when there is a chance that Lyme is the causal factor. If the condition responds then continue treatment because that will be cheaper in the long run. The long term destruction of human anatomy infected with Borrelia is extremely expensive and normally includes: x-rays, CAT scans, MRIs, joint replacement , physiotherapy etc. All of this can be avoided by treating the disease within 10 days of infection with Doxycycline.

  • Chris Gravel

    The “experts” – in my personal experience of having had to deal with 3 of them – are deeply divided on account of loyalty to Dr. Gary Wormser in New York, who contends that if you don’t get the bull’s eye rash and have arthritis, you don’t have Lyme Disease. The Infectious Diseases community has to date been focused mainly on HIV/AIDS, so their expertise in that field has left them in no position to do anything but follow what they’re told by those who CONSIDER themselves experts in this disease. Dr. Wormser agrees that people with remaining symptoms have something wrong with them, but contends that it isn’t Lyme Disease. On the other hand, Dr. Maureen McShane – also practicing in New York – actually had the disease, and had to learn what it takes to cure it. This resulted in her being known as “Lyme literate”. My further understanding is that Dr. Wormser does not (yet) acknowledge that there are multiple strains of Lyme, and multiple forms that the bacteria take, once established in bodily tissues, like cysts and biofilms that protect colonies of spirochetes from antibiotics. Naturopaths have discovered remedies that address these two forms so that, in combination with antibiotic treatment, we have the best potential for ridding the body of the disease. I have been fighting it since 2009 and I really hope that the conference called for by the legislation includes appearances by naturopaths who can explain the impact better than I have just attempted to do. Dr. Gene Sullivan is an Ottawa Naturopath who has made Lyme Disease his specialty, and has been in contact with the medical community in northern California, where doctors have actually come together with Naturopaths to focus on treatment of this disease, and who have examined the work done by the IGenex Lab in the same area (which 2 out of 3 of my Infectious Diseases Specialists feel are inflating the number of positive results for financial gain), and this California medical community has found excellent scientific practices characterizing the work in this lab, and coherent results that assist with identifying paths to treatment. So the “experts” are very deeply divided, but Dr. Wormser’s perspective got the first hearing among specialists in Canada, and their subsequent experience in trying to treat irritated, neurologically impaired, and very deeply concerned patients made them sure that Dr. Wormser was correct in simply dismissing these people as needing to look elsewhere for help, in particular, to the psychological and psychiatric medical communities.

  • Judi

    Good thing all Canadians have you in Parliament, Elizabeth May !

  • http://ramgbs.wordpress.com ramgbs

    Elizabeth, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDJxnG__4IU&feature=player_detailpage Great workwork Elizabeth, and next we must have a Vaccine Compensation Program for all Canadians

  • Deena

    Appreciate all you have done. Knowledge is power. Being aware is vital. Now we need Dr’s who specialize in lyme here in Canada.

  • lymewarrior

    Thank you Elizabeth from the bottom of my heart. You have been our champion right from the start. We still have lots of work to do with the conference but patients must have help and your bill has paved the way. xxxxxChris & Nicole

  • Paula Stefankiw

    Thank you Elizabeth May!

  • bushyuppie

    I commend you, Ms. May. My wife has chronic lyme and you are taking leadership to champion an orphan issue that affects many people’s lives in Canada.

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