May Tables Private Members Bill on Lyme Disease

On Thursday, June 21st, 2012 in Press Conferences, Press Releases

In response to the growing threat of Lyme Disease in Canada, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands, today introduced a Private Members Bill to create a National Lyme Disease Strategy.

 The bill calls for a national conference of public health officials, researchers, and patient advocates to be convened as a first step in developing a Canadian National Strategy for diagnosing and treating the disease.

“Scientific studies have been warning us that with climate change the number of vector-borne – birds, insects – diseases is on the rise.  Lyme disease, spread by certain types of ticks, is one of them,” said May. 

“I have many friends and constituents who are living with this terrible disease.  We need to make absolutely sure that all Canadian doctors are equipped with the tools and knowledge to effectively diagnose and treat patients suffering from Lyme. ”

 Lyme Disease is the name given to Borrelia burgdorferi (and recently other Borrelias) and co-infections.  Early diagnosis is critical, yet it remains poorly understood in spite of its growing prevalence and serious consequences, including recurring attacks of arthritis and neurological problems.

“Tragically, because we don’t have consistent and effective guidelines for testing in order to reliably detect the various types and strains of Lyme Disease, there is too often a failure to diagnose sufferers,” May pointed out.

“This means that every year hundreds, even thousands, of Canadians either go untreated or are required to go to the United States for treatment where they are prescribed heavy doses of antibiotics not covered by our provincial healthcare plans.

“Some patients are dependent on such medicine for life.  This bill is aimed at ending this kind of neglect.”

At a time when many US States have tackled this urgent issue head on, it is ironic that Canada still downplays Lyme Disease and clings to outdated standards for diagnosis and care.

The Green Party Leader thanked the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation for its effective work.  CanLyme, a national research foundation for tick-borne infections, also provides counselling and support to the hundreds of Canadians refused clinical diagnosis annually.

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  • meerkatmarlene

    Thank you for doing this, for bringing awareness to the plight of those of us struggling with Lyme disease and the far-reaching effects on all levels in our lives. Three years ago, nobody knew about Lyme when I told them about my diagnosis. On June 16 we attended an event in a rural community and of the 60 people I talked to about the disease, only about 7 didn’t know what it was. Moreover, of the rest of them, everyone knew someone close to them with Lyme disease. This is frightening!

  • Wendy Aitken

    Thank you MP Elizabeth May. Us Lymies were all waiting and watching as things unfolded today. From across Canada. Many of us were on Facebook in a group called Lyme Warriors.
    You are an honorary member, to be sure
    It looks like educating our MPs and getting your petition and other petitions out there for what I am calling *twittering on lyme* in the house in the fall.
    My MP Ted Tsu was very helpful and open when I had a meeting with him last week. I hope we can change things, though it is difficult for many of us, as we try to change things from our beds, wheelchairs, with terrible symptoms such as MS, Bi Polar, Fibromyalgia, well you know the list goes on. I am a 20 year Lyme Disease and Coinfection Warrior.
    Thank you so much for your compassion and understanding.

    Wendy K Aitken (Lymezoner)

  • Traciedella

    I want to personally thank you for your hard work on this Bill. I know it will still be a fight and a while before anything will happen – but hopefully it will save someone from the hell that I and so many are living.

  • Ali

    Thank you to all of you for your hard work and dedication to bring this devastating disease to the forefront. After years of personally having to be treated in the U.S. to get my health back, I am looking forward to future victims to get prompt and accurate diagnosis and treatment!

    A fellow B.C. Chronic Lyme Sufferer

  • tuxedoman

    Elizabeth May … You Rock !
    Thank you so much for being such a powerhouse and for fighting for me and my fellow Lyme suffers. We are all so ill that we don’t have the stamina to fight for ourselves.
    My dream is that you could:
    #1. Educate all of our doctors in the clinical diagnosis of Lyme,
    #2. Remove that pathetic Lyme Disease test from the Canadian Medical Lab Requisition forms until it is accurate, and
    #3. Allow the Lyme Literate family doctors treat their patients as they see fit.
    With admiration,

  • Lymeishere

    Thank you so much Elizabeth May for taking up our plight! Our medical community is sorely lacking education on this. I was told by a physcian that I was looking up a designer disease on the internet. This from someone who knew all the health problems I had/have been through. I was laughed at, belittled and scoofed at by various doctors who we are suppose to look up to and trust with our health. This just hasn’t been the case. I was misdiagnosed with MS over 20 years ago. I thought I had Bartonella and MS so imagine my surprise when I found out it was Lyme all along. I had 3 negative Canadian Elisa’s and one indeterminant Canadian Bartonella and one very positive Igenex test. I was fortunate to have received treatment before my doctor retired due to the politics of Lyme. Four plus years on antibiotics plus a year on a picc line. I can walk, talk, think properly again, but I will always have various symptoms that are now long term and will not get better. All thanks to a system who just doesn’t get this. I know of 100′s of others that are in the same boat. Our dogs are getting better care than we are, and thats not right. I am from Ontario and feel I was bitten at a cottage near the 1000 islands. That was found to be endemic years ago. So yes, thank you MP Elizabeth May.

  • Esther Jackson

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Your bill re Lyme Disease is, I agree an urgent concern.
    As a member of a seniors hiking club, I have know about the risk of Lyme Disease for 20 years, yet doctors are apparently not aware of the risks. We have a young man in Calgary now severely disabled by Lyme disease, all because doctors did not make an accuarte diagnosis for several years.We need more public awareness, and information avaiable to the medical profession. I hope that the government support this bill.
    Blessings to you,

  • lb

    As a health care professional, I respectfully suggest that your expertise as a lawyer and politician should lead you away from taking on such a cause as this one. You are doing yourself and your party a disservice. Your information is not backed by medical data. I was just coming around to thinking of supporting the Greens but need to back away based on this bill.

    • Maria

      I would respectfully disagree. There is a lot of research and data that backs this up, which is why there is pressure on our government officials to take action. Thank you Elizabeth May.

    • Shari

      I disagree too – but not as ‘respectfully’ as Maria. Get your head out of the sand; Elizabeth May is exactly what this country needs to bring much needed awareness to this cause.

  • Jan van Vugt

    I hope that this gets results sooner than later. The problem has been ignored for much too long. It is too bad that Dr. E. Murakami, In Hope, BC, lost his license because of a biased medical system. He was the only LLMD that we had in BC. We can use 1,000 more like him in Canada, but Doctors are afraid of loosing their license to practice if they start treating Lyme Disease aggressively.

  • ruben castillo

    I am looking for a Business Partner to open an Integrative, Alternative Wellness Clinic in Mexico to treat Lyme Disease and all Autoimmune Illness. I have all required licensing, permits and all the experience in treating all illness. Any suggestion where I can place an add to attract good prospects..?
    I appreciate the input. Ruben Castillo in California USA 619 254 4455

    PS: Perhaps If you bring someone with
    the funding you can be part of the project as well.
    Thank You / Muchas Gracias

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