Lyme Disease Strategy would address real need

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Thursday in the legislature, Tim Houston, Progressive Conservative MLA for Pictou East, introduced a bill that would develop a comprehensive Lyme Disease Strategy for Nova Scotia.

This is long overdue.

Throughout our province there are people who are battling Lyme disease but have had difficulty both being diagnosed and treated. More often than not, they end up travelling out of country on their own pocketbook in search of some form of hope. This needs to change.

Nobody is denying there are ticks in Nova Scotia now. Test after test has concluded that they are here and that they are carrying Lyme, but our health care system has been woefully slow in addressing the issue and coming up with any type of unified approach to it.

 It’s a tragic reality that people in this province are suffering lasting side effects because of a system that for years denied even the possibility of Lyme Disease within our provincial boundaries.

Research has proven that early treatment can almost eliminate all side effects of Lyme, but left untreated it can have debilitating consequences. Effective and knowledgeable treatment is of the utmost necessity.

The proposed act would create a provincial standard of care to reflect best practices of treatment. The Act calls on the government to convene a stakeholder conference within six months, seeking input from the medical community and patients’ groups. It would also introduce a medical surveillance program to properly track incidence rates and associated economic costs of Lyme Disease.

It may take a while for this to pass and it’s certainly likely that it may face some extra scrutiny since it’s coming from an opposition party member, but it’s our hope that the Liberals and other members of Nova Scotia’s Legislature will see the merit in this proposal and not let the opportunity to do something good for the future of our people slip by.

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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