Today in the Legislature, Tim Houston, Progressive Conservative MLA for Pictou East, introduced a bill to develop a comprehensive Lyme Disease Strategy for Nova Scotia.
“I am proud to be able to bring forward this long overdue legislation to address patients’ concerns respecting the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme Disease in Nova Scotia,” Houston says.
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 introduce a medical surveillance program to properly track incidence rates and associated economic costs of Lyme Disease.
It also aims to increase awareness about the disease and create establishment of guidelines for prevention, identification, treatment and management.
One long-time advocate for a Lyme Disease Strategy in Nova Scotia, Brenda Sterling-Goodwin, has been championing this legislation for years.
“Currently if you’re bitten by a tick in Nova Scotia and you show up at emergency or doctor’s office, there’s no consistent treatment across the province,” says Sterling-Goodwin. “We’d like to see doctors better educated in this field. The tick should be removed and sent away for study, and the patient should also get six weeks of antibiotics.”
The Act will create a provincial standard of care to reflect best practices for treatment.
Angela Livingstone-Rector, whose daughter was infected with Lyme Disease at the age of two, hopes the Act will address the lack of consistent treatment in the province. “There’s currently no standard of care for people affected with Lyme Disease,” Livingstone says. “Nova Scotians are not getting access to the highest level of care available.”
“It’s time for the government to take action on Lyme Disease,” Houston says. “I am calling on the Liberal government to support this legislation.”