Motion by N.B. MLA recognizes Lyme disease as pressing public health concern
A file photo of a deer tick under a microscope in the entomology lab at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, R.I. (AP Photo/ Victoria Arocho, File)
Lyme disease is being recognized by New Brunswick politicians as a pressing public health concern – a first in Canada.
A motion before the New Brunswick legislature offers support for those who have the disease, acknowledging many suffer for months or even years before diagnosis and treatment.
“It takes a major step forward by recognizing this disease, that more can be done for awareness, prevention, treatment, and diagnosis,” said Progressive Conservative MLA Jack Carr, who brought the motion to the legislature floor Friday.
The motion directs the Department of Health to put more focus on Lyme disease initiatives. While the motion received unanimous MLA support, no mention was made of any financial commitments.
Advocates say the political acknowledgement of Lyme disease alone is a huge step forward.
“We still see messages there isn't Lyme in New Brunswick and that it's rare and we don't have many affected ticks,” said Louise Billings of the Fredericton Area Lyme Disease Advocacy Group. “So we have a lot of work to do. But this is a really good start.”
High risk areas for being exposed to an infected tick in New Brunswick includes the Millidgeville area of Saint John and Grand Manan Island.’
Lyme disease symptoms are often confused as being associated with multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease. Symptoms include flu-like signs, but a classic Lyme indicator is a bull’s eye target rash near a tick bite.
New Brunswick’s Department of Health says Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics and almost always results in full recovery if detected early.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore