Last year, Canadian public health officials and legislators made great strides in recognizing the existence and threat within their country of Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), the tick-borne organism which causes Lyme disease. Now, there’s evidence that Babesia, a parasite which infects red blood cells and is transmitted primarily through the bite of black-legged ticks, may have reached Canada, as well.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, Yolanda Foster, has made national headlines the past few weeks sharing her most recent struggles with Lyme disease. "Most of you know I have been battling Lyme disease for the past three years. I wasted the first year trying to get diagnosed and spent the next two trying to find a cure,” the 51-year-old former Dutch model writes in her blog. “Unfortunately, I was only able to get to about a 60% recovery until I relapsed in early December and have not been able to find my way back. I’ve lost the ability to read, write…”
Major stories for 2014 on Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. Covering newly discovered tick-borne pathogens, the spread of existing tick-borne diseases into new geographic regions, an increasing focus on co-infections and legislative and educational efforts to deal with the growing epidemic of Lyme disease.
Patients suffering with an illness often turn to their doctors for empathy. This is particularly true for those individuals living with chronic, often debilitating, symptoms. An understanding practitioner can play an important role in aiding a patient back to health and impacting clinical outcomes. Yet, according to a study published in this month's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), mental health clinicians may actually be less likely to show empathy to their patient if there is an underlying, biological cause behind the illness.
OTTAWA - Elizabeth May’s Private Member’s Bill, C-442, the Federal Framework on Lyme Disease Act, was passed unanimously at third reading by the Senate the morning of Friday, December 12. The bill now awaits Royal Assent by the Governor General for it to become law.
Emotions became heated, at times, during a Senate committee hearing, held last week in Canada, to review proposed legislation that would create a national strategy for Lyme disease. Bill C-442, An Act Respecting a Federal Framework on Lyme Disease, has passed the House of Commons and is now before the Senate.
In an article entitled "Bill C-442: Shining the limelight on the Lyme-like?" published last week in the Journal of Infectious Diseases & Medical Microbiology, two Canadian physicians express both their support and reservations regarding the bill that has already passed the House of Commons. An Act Respecting a Federal Framework on Lyme Disease, introduced by Member of Parliament Elizabeth May, now awaits a second reading in the Senate. In the interim, Dr. Kevin Laupland and Dr. Louis Valiquette have shared some concerns, which are worthy of addressing.
"While we will hope for improvements in the diagnosis of Lyme disease, we are skeptical that major advances will arise as a result of Bill C-442. Accordingly, we believe that a sizable cohort of patients with chronic Lyme-like disease will remain," writes the authors.
I recently read an article in The New York Times that really spoke to me and would apply to so many of my own patients. “When the Diagnosis Is Rare, Parents May Know More Than Professionals,” by David Wheeler, highlights a family who struggles to find answers to their young child’s medical condition. For two years, the parents researched her symptoms, pursued different physicians and became her strongest advocate. Eventually, their child was diagnosed with a rare disease, Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD).
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is pushing to regulate (or eliminate altogether) laboratory developed tests (LDT).  Diagnostic tests for Lyme disease will be targeted, initially, as the FDA begins to phase in its oversight.
Dr. Daniel Cameron, MD, MPH, is a nationally recognized leader for his expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. For more than 34 years, he has been treating adolescents and adults suffering from Lyme disease.