Response to David Patrick. Q&A Tick Talk: What you need to know about Lyme disease

Sooo many erroneous assumptions with this post! So what’s the problem?
I want to tackle a few of the statements made by David Patrick from The University of British Columbia (UBC)
Dear David Patrick.
It would be easier to assume that rising lyme disease rates are due to some sort of a miraculous phenomena, but let me assure you that these rates have nothing to do with magic.
If one goes to the BC CDC website, It shows which provinces in Canada people are most at risk for, in regards to catching lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. The CDC website states that British Columbia is “ENDEMIC” for lyme disease. Endemic means, (of a disease or condition) regularly found among particular people or in a certain area (thank you google). So if the province of British Columbia is endemic for lyme disease why wouldn’t it be, as you so cleverly wrote, “all over the place?” From Vancouver Island, to the parks of Chilliwack or Kamloops…ticks with lyme disease can be found. Birds, and even household pets like cats and dogs can bring ticks into our beloved homes. Think about it, our pets get vaccinated for lyme disease and get aid against fleas and ticks so easily…because veterinarians know that all our animals have to do is simply be outside among tall grasses, trees. leaves, or logs ….as they can be a great hiding place for ticks to transfer onto our pets. So contrary to Mr. Patricks view that lyme isn’t all over the place. I argue that lyme IS all over British Columbia and is only increasing with wild animals: deer, bears, rabbits and birds carrying ticks to the northern and southern parts of British Columbia AND, I might add, the rest of Canada. There is no immigration policy for ticks and their carriers (like birds)….they do not stop at the border with their passports in tow.

Secondly, Mr. Patrick stated that “Some of these folk have been diagnosed with Lyme disease through so called Lyme-specialty labs in the United States”. Let me explain something, there are over 300 strains of borrelia burgdorferi worldwide, which means if you only get tested for one strain of borrelia, you could still have borrelia…it’s just a strain that isn’t accounted for. In Canada in 1998 a vaccine called “LYMERix was administered, and shortly withdrawn from the public. (Because people got sick) Anyways, the “strain for borrelia” that was used in the vaccine was removed from the Canadian ELISA (still is to this day). The real reason people go to the United States for testing is because they ARE more accurate and can gain a better understanding of what strain of borrelia they may have. In the U.S and Germany, they test for more strains than our healthcare system does in Canada. (Sidenote: I came back negative on the Canadian Eliza test and POSITIVE on the Canadian Ehrlichia test, which is another tick transmitted infection most doctors miss). Also, the ELISA test is antibody test this means that if a person has had lyme disease for a long time, their body can stop producing antibodies to this bacteria leading to a “false negative” test. If one does some research on the nature of the lyme disease spirochaete, the bacteria creates a biofilm that HIDES itself from the bodys immune system and antibiotics which means it can be extremely hard to detect and treat. Dr. Allan Macdonald has done extensive studies on this as biofilms in their nature, are “chronic” and “hard to treat”. The borrelia spirochaete also has the ability to constantly change it’s outer protein layer making it hard for the body to pose as a threat.This also leads to my next point.

If lyme disease is caught early, and treated early. (Which is not usually the case, unfortunately) The prognosis is generally good. BUT the problem arises when individuals have been sick with the disease for a long time. When this happens you have biofilms in your body, bacteria that are spreading and bacteria that is also CHANGING. Mr. Patrick stated that Lyme disease was “not hard to treat” which is unfortunately not the case. Borrelia can go into many different forms: cell wall deficient, L -shape and cystic. This means that you need to treat this disease as 3 different bacterial organisms, with different antibiotics aimed at each kind of form. Different classes of antibiotics are aimed at different types of bacterias. Which means that 2 weeks of doxycycline won’t cure someone who’s been ill with lyme for several months because it won’t kill all the forms of lyme. Then there’s the issues of resistance and previously mentioned biofilms and changing cell wall structure.

I hope you take time to look into this, because lyme disease IS a growing problem and when the truth finally comes out, just like what happened with Syphillis patients during the Tuskeegee project, people were appalled that no one stood up for them and that the U.S government let people die denying them antibiotics. The exact same thing is happening with Lyme disease, all we’re asking for is treatment options, but we’re called crazy.
Remember that people with lyme disease take their lives because no one is fighting for therm in the scientific and medical community. We need you because Lyme is growing. Because one day it might be your daughter who needs help and can’t get it. Lyme is growing because it’s not just a threat through tick borne transmission but also is a threat through pregnancy and sexual transmission, just like it’s brother spirochaete “Syphillis”.

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