Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

January 20, 2008 12:15 ET

Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation: Feds Say "No" to Access to Information Request on Serious Health Matter; National Security Cited

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 20, 2008) -

The federal government denies Access to Information request. They say it is a matter of "national security", so Canadians have no right to records that measure the ability of our national medical laboratory to detect the fastest growing animal to human disease in the northern hemisphere

The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation decided they must find out how well our federal medical laboratory in Winnipeg does at detecting Lyme disease in humans.

Fully certified, proficiency tested and accredited laboratories in the U.S. have been finding that several thousand Canadians are actually positive for lyme disease after a negative Canadian test. Many of these Canadians had been given diagnoses ranging from multiple sclerosis, mental illness, to chronic fatigue syndrome.

The successful outcome of lyme disease treatment demands early diagnosis, so the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation sought to find out why Canadian lab tests in so many instances are negative followed by a positive U.S. test. These patients only then get the treatment they need. The proof is in the pudding, they do remarkably well in recovery after having been left sick for years in many instances.

Proficiency testing of laboratories measuring their ability to detect specific disease is required in most jurisdictions for laboratories to retain certification. The U.S. labs are proficiency tested and have excellent results. We expect similar results from our federal labs but we will never know if a small group of people who hold the lives of Canadians in their hands has their way.

If denying our request because of "national security" sounds absurd to you, it did to us as well. Something is going on. One provincial access to information request revealed minutes of a meeting involving provincial medical authorities and our federal laboratory representatives who discuss hundreds of unique cases of lyme disease in only a three year period in that province. Officially, in that same three year period the reported number of cases was zero.

We had also previously asked to be allowed to participate in proficiency testing of our Canadian labs but that request was quickly denied as well.

To put this in proper perspective, Canada has some of the highest rates in the world of diseases and conditions sharing the same symptomology as lyme disease but we have virtually no lyme disease, in stark contrast to every other northern hemisphere country. There are 1.5 million Canadians suffering from disease of unknown origin. Many of these mirror the symptoms of chronic lyme disease. We want to know how many are in fact lyme. We believe that number will prove to be substantial. It is implausible that Canada has protective border crossings that prevent birds that are carrying lyme disease from entering our country. It is much more plausible that we have many cases of lyme disease. Our cold temperatures do not account for our low numbers as previously stated by the government. Finland, a much colder country, has thousands more cases than Canada.

The best way to prove the prevalence of lyme in the bodies of Canadians would be through aggressive research including multiple tissue biopsies from skin and internal organs of those individuals who share the symptoms of lyme disease, and post-mortem study of those who did not survive the onslaught of their illness. We have had many requests Canada wide from very sick individuals or their family members who want to leave their or their loved ones remains for this specific research. Most have not been diagnosed with lyme, but suffer all of the symptoms.

Background information:

Our friendly migratory birds transport the ticks that carry Lyme disease around at random. Biting insects such as mosquitoes and horse flies have also been shown to transmit the disease. In the U.S. where our springtime migratory birds come from there is an estimated 200,000 human cases of Lyme disease each year and this is increasing year over year. Our government labs confirm fewer than 60 cases per year in Canada.

We do know Lyme is being misdiagnosed as other illnesses, or not diagnosed at all. Lyme disease is robbing many Canadian children of their youth and adults of their careers.

Lyme disease can cause serious long-term health issues if not identified and treated early. It can affect the brain, eyesight, hearing, nervous system, muscles, joints, digestive tract, skin and most organs including the heart, liver, spleen, and kidneys. Because Lyme disease is a multi-system disorder many systems of the body can be affected at once.

Ticks that carry Lyme disease can be found in your lawn, on logs, on your pets, in tall grass or brush. If outside do not brush up against brush or tall grass, or sit on logs. Wear a repellent containing DEET, and do a daily full body tick check on yourself, your children and your pets. Talk to your veterinarian about protecting your pets. Use fine tipped tweezers to remove an attached tick. Prevention is the best medicine.

Media -- For high resolution tick photo go to http://www.canlyme.com/tick%20high%20res.jpg

Contact Information

  • Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation
    Jim Wilson
    President
    (250) 768-0978
    Website: www.canlyme.org