LYME DISEASE IN ONTARIO
- If bitten by a tick – see your family physician to have it carefully removed with fine-pointed tweezers (most tweezers are too blunt on the tips and will cause regurgitation). Place tweezers snugly against skin, with a firm grip on tick’s head, gently pull it straight out with steady pressure. Apply an antiseptic and wash your hands.
- Make a note of date, location on body, geographic location. Take a picture, especially if a rash is present or appears. Place tick in a vial with a piece of moist Kleenex or paper towel. Submit tick to local public health unit for testing.
- Lyme Disease has early and late stages; patients may exhibit symptoms from one or both. Late stages of infection are much more difficult to diagnose and can mimic other illnesses. Children’s symptoms can vary from adults and may include behavioural changes, declining school performance, fatigue, headache, forgetfulness, comlex partial seizures, depression and may be misdiagnosed with primary ADHD. For a full list of symptoms please visit www.lymeontario.com.
- Only 30-50% of people infected with the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria (Lyme) will get a rash of any kind. Of these only 9% will get a classic bulls-eye rash. Only 10% of children present with a rash of any kind.
- Lyme disease is a rapidly spreading illness that is difficult to test for and many cases are missed. Here in Canada the ELISA method of testing is used to screen for infection. The ELISA has an accuracy of 4%-65%. The Western Blot method (through IGENEX in California) is a more accurate test. However, many people who are actually infected do not mount an antibody response so testing will be negative.
- Diagnosis of Lyme Disease should be CLINICAL
- Co-infections almost always accompany the Lyme (Borrelia) bacteria. It is important to identify and treat these co-infections because, if left untreated, their continued presence increases morbidity and prevents successful treatment of Lyme Disease
- A bulls-eye rash is in itself conclusive evidence of a Lyme infection and must be treated with 4 weeks oral antibiotics to prevent re-emergence of the infection months or years later.
- Family physicians in Canada will only treat with a standard 2 week antibiotic course if Lyme is suspected or confirmed. It is up to the patient or caregiver to INSIST on a full 4 week antibiotic treatment course.
- Lyme Disease can remain dormant in the body for many years, until a stressor or immune compromise causes it to become active and the patient will then manifest symptoms. At this point it is much more difficult to treat.
- You do not need to visit an endemic area to encounter ticks! Migrating birds disperse various tick species Canada-wide.
- For additional accurate and up-to-date information on ticks and Lyme Disease please visit
LYME ONTARIO - www.lymeontario.com
CANADIAN LYME DISEASE FOUNDATION - www.canlyme.com
INTERNATIONAL LYME AND ASSOCIATED DISEASE SOCIETY - www.ilads.org