Lyme disease is rapidly spreading across North America and experts are concerned
Experts have been warning for years that an outbreak Lyme disease isn’t as unlikely as previous generations have thought, and recent reports and incidents are beginning to add up.
While the spread of Lyme disease has been more drastic in North America, it has steadily spread to 80 countries worldwide, reports Global News’s Melanie de Klerk. But not only is the reach of the disease concerning, its sudden increase in occurrence has begun to factor into doctors’ diagnostic considerations, causing them to revaluate whether Lyme disease should be last on the list of possibilities or one of the first.
The Public Health Agency of Canada documented 1,479 cases of Lyme disease across Canada in 2017. This is significant as it was nearly 50 percent higher than the number of incidents in 2016. According to Public Health Ontario, the province alone saw 1,003 cases of Lyme disease between 2012-2016. Much like the country at large, the province’s numbers are also predicted to increase.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Lyme disease is caused by bacteria carried and transmitted by ticks — in particular, black-legged ticks, colloquially known as deer ticks. These ticks are known for carrying Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii in the United States and Canada, while two other strains of bacteria carried by ticks spread Lyme disease in Europe and Asia.
The Mayo Clinic goes on to say that many smaller, brown ticks are almost impossible to detect, meaning that they sometimes go unnoticed while transmitting the disease, which usually takes over 48 hours.
The main risk factors include spending time in wooded or grassy areas, having exposed skin, and not removing ticks promptly or properly.
They further explain that untreated Lyme disease often causes chronic joint inflammation (Lyme arthritis), particularly of the knee; neurological symptoms, such as facial palsy and neuropathy; cognitive defects, such as impaired memory; and heart rhythm irregularities.
As Dr. Kieran Moore, the principal investigator with the Canadian Institute of Health Research-funded Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network, explains, “Once you miss the opportunity to treat it acutely, the bacteria can disseminate from the site of tick bite.”
“It can be spread to your joints and cause rheumatological Lyme,” he continued, “or it can spread into nerve tissue and cause nerve tissue damage, or it can attach to the muscle of the heart and the nerve conduction system of the heart and cause all types of different cardiac presentations.”
Barry Philpot, a Lyme disease patient who didn’t understand or handle his symptoms until they were serious, described his experience: “I just kept deteriorating with really weird heart palpitations and cognitive issues like [being] unable to concentrate, slurred speech, trouble swallowing, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity and just a rapid deterioration to the point where I had to come home from work.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in America (CDC), roughly 30,000 Lyme disease cases are reported by state health departments and the District of Columbia each year. However, they postulate the actual number is nearly 10 times that when other methods, besides state health department reports, are considered.
The CDC reports that 42,743 confirmed and probable cases of Lyme disease were reported to CDC in 2017. This figure represents a 17% increase in just a year. Over 9 years, the number of cases has increased from 324 in 2008 to 454 in 2017 per 100,000 people.
The concentration of Lyme disease seems to be in America’s northeastern states, particularly those around large bodies of water like the great lakes. The highest rate of the disease, however, was in Maine.
Much like the U.S., Lyme disease risk areas are concentrated in eastern provinces, far more so than in B.C. or Alberta. Major cities in the eastern provinces and the rural areas surrounding them are particularly susceptible.
With that spread, the CDC warns that Lyme disease is spreading throughout the country, much like it is spreading throughout Canada.
According to Dr. Kieran Moore, there are two main problems which is contributing to Lyme disease being under-treated before it gets serious: tests which are not completely reliable, and doctors considering all other possibilities before considering Lyme disease.
“We need significant work to educate physicians both in the front lines — emergency medicine and primary care — as well as our specialist colleagues regarding the myriad of signs and symptoms that Lyme disease can present as,” said Moore.
“We know that the current diagnostic tests for Lyme disease are insensitive,” he added. “If someone presents in June, July or August just with undifferentiated fever, chills, muscle aches, headaches, neck stiffness… think Lyme disease.”
Both Dr. Moore and investigative journalist Mary Beth Pfeiffer, who has intensely followed Lyme disease outbreaks after her own community was affected, both believe that climate change is a major contributing factor in the spread of the disease, as the ticks carrying the disease thrive in hot and humid climates.
Moore believes that awareness and education are the first tools at our disposal to combat the spread of Lyme disease, as well as preventative measures such as wearing light-coloured clothing when camping so that ticks are more visible and using tick repellent. Better testing methods are also needed, Moore says, but the push for improvements may also come down to public awareness and a public push.
Chinese tech giant Huawei tweeted on Monday regarding the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, calling her detainment “an unlawful and illegal act.”
The tweet links to a Globe and Mail article that goes over the moments leading up to Wanzhou’s arrest, but doesn’t provide any evidence her detainment was “unlawful” or an “illegal act”. The article is behind a paywall, so only subscribers can actually have access to the story and that it doesn’t match Huawei’s bold claims.
Reaction to the post from Canadians online was generally one of outrage.
Many replied to Huawei’s tweets, upset with the company’s audacity to complain about Wanzhou’s detention while two Canadians remain in Chinese prison, with another, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, sentenced to death for drug trafficking charges.
Nowhere in the article does it explicitly state that the detention of Wanzhou was illegal, with the word “illegal” not appearing once. Rather, the article features details regarding America’s role in Meng’s arrest, with quotes from Chinese diplomats calling the arrest “unreasonable” due to the lack of notice from the Canadian side during her arrest.
“In accordance with the consular agreement between China and Canada, the Canadian side should inform the Chinese diplomatic missions in Canada immediately of its unreasonable detention of Ms. Meng Wanzhou,” said the Chinese embassy in a statement. “But the Canadian government failed to do that, the Chinese side first learned about the situation from other channels. We lodged stern representations with the Canadian side as soon as we learned about the relevant information.”
The Globe‘s article does note that those familiar with extradition practices call Meng’s arrest a “rare” incident, as Washington “typically pursues criminal charges for sanction violations against an individual rather than a corporation.”
“In a case like this one, where Ms. Meng is in all likelihood executing corporate policy, one would expect individuals not to be charged and the corporation would be fined,” said extradition expert Eric Lewis.
A new online poll conducted by the Canadian Press has shown that Andrew Scheer has less than 50 percent support from Canadians who self-identify as Conservatives, according to CKOM.
Just 48 percent of Conservative supporters say they want Andrew Scheer to continue as leader. 40 percent want him to resign, while 12 percent remain undecided.
This comes as another bad news story for the Conservative leader who will require a far greater majority in his leadership review in April of next year. The precedent in Candian politics is that leaders who undergo reviews should receive a much higher portion of the vote than just 50 percent.
Stephan Harper, for example, won over 85% of the vote in his leadership review after his 2004 election loss. It has been broadly considered that 75 percent of the vote is the bare minimum for an incumbent leader to continue his tenure.
The survey was conducted from Nov. 15-25 and over 3,000 Canadians participated.
Recently, Andrew Scheer has received significant pressure from the Conservative base to resign. This criticism previously derived from the Red Tory faction of the party when Peter MacKay and Rona Ambrose criticized his leadership.
Peter MacKay, for instance, declared that issues like abortion and immigration “hung round [Scheer’s] neck like a stinking albatross.” MacKay went on to say that this election was like “having an open net and missing the net.”
Another prominent Conservative politician, Ed Fast, who served in Harper’s cabinet as the trade secretary, declined a position in Scheer’s cabinet, saying that the leader needed someone who “fully supports” his leadership.
Soon after, the Globe and Mail reported that the social conservative wing of the party had begun to abandon Scheer. One former Conservative MP, Brad Trost, said in the article that “A lot of social conservatives have no interest whatsoever in backing Andrew Scheer.”
Last week, Scheer suffered another setback after a third-party organization was created by a group of prominent figures within the Conservative movement. This group, Conservative Victory, is devoted entirely to the ousting of Scheer.
McGill University sent out an email to its students stating that their student government’s decision to prosecute a Jewish student for attending a Hillel-sponsored trip to Israel and Palestine fosters “a culture of ostracization.”
This is in reference to a case where Jordyn Wright, a Jewish student at McGill and a Board of Director of its Student Society (SSMU), was personally targetted by SSMU for attending a trip to Israel and Palestine.
The motion that was presented in SSMU’s council meeting on November 28th explicitly singled out Jordyn. Furthermore, the SSMU President Bryan Buraga also introduced amendments that only pertained to Jordyn and none of the other BoD going on the trip.
“I am outraged and disgusted, but not surprised. This is not the first time that Jewish students at McGill have been bullied out of student government,” Jordyn exclaimed in a Facebook post.
“If I do not resign, I am being implicitly threatened with impeachment upon my return,” said Jordyn. “I have been the subject of thinly-veiled and blatant anti-Semitism.”
A copy of the email was received by The Post Millennial.
The email was sent out on behalf of Fabrice Labeau, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) of McGill Univerity, and emphasizes “freedom of speech” while saying McGill “is also committed to maintaining a respectful environment for all members of [its] community.”
“The motion approved by the SSMU Legislative Council purposely singles out an individual member of SSMU,” reads the email.
“Despite the SSMU Board of Directors previously assessing that enrolling in this program does not constitute a conflict of interest, the Legislative Council has nonetheless decided to overturn this decision by mandating its Board of Directors to start a procedure to remove this individual from the SSMU Board of Directors, should this individual choose to go on the trip.”
The email further adds that the “decision made by the SSMU Legislative Council is contrary to the University’s values of inclusion, diversity and respect.”
It goes on to say that it also diverges from SSMU’s own Constitution and represents a “very serious breach of trust.”
“For that reason, we call upon the SSMU Board of Directors to seriously consider the concerns raised by students and take proper action.”
The email was sent in English and French to all members of the McGill staff, and all students at the university.
It began with Grapes but the end is uncertain. Don Cherry’s now infamous “You People” rant was the match that lit the fire.
The Social’s Jessica Allen took Cherry’s comments and ran regaling us with memories of her formative years and how those stories can be applied to all hockey players across the country and fans of the game alike.
Akim Aliu, a Nigerian-born NHL player, came out against former coach Bill Peters recently. Talking via social media about an incident where Peters used racial epithets a decade earlier while he was playing for the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. Since the post, many other former players of Peters have come forward as well with stories of his unprofessional conduct and controversial coaching style. Peters stepped down Friday as coach of the Calgary Flames.
Daniel Carcillo is leading a twitter brigade against abuse within the organizations of Hockey Canada and the NHL. He has been encouraging other players to do the same and they haven’t wasted any time. Dozens of former players from the NHL, OHL, WHL and minor league have come forward with similar stories of abuse. The University of Lethbridge has had six female hockey players make a formal complaint with the University’s human resources department asking for their coach Michelle Janus to be fired for several instances of bullying, although the details remain unclear. So far the university has decided to keep Janus as Coach of the school team.
Several former players have come out against the Sutter family as well, including Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Rich and Ron. The entire family all played at one time in the NHL before moving on to team management or becoming coaches themselves. One player has suggested that this has given the Sutter boys almost a Royal Family status amongst the NHL and Hockey Canada, and that has made them extremely powerful so no one has had their voice heard up to this point or dared to speak up. The Sutters have not yet made a comment on the (at this point) vague allegations.
The complaints against some individuals in the professional hockey world have ranged from sexual and physical abuse to hazing and underage drinking.
Rookie parties have come under fire as a haven for toxic behaviour. Carcillo posted a photo from an alleged rookie party where the rookies were forced to wear dresses and drink alcohol while some were still underage. The faces of the players have been blurred out, leaving only their beer toting, dress wearing bodies.
To me, the photo looks suspect. The erased faces could be to protect the identity of the players posing, it may also be to conceal any expressions of amusement, one can’t say for sure.
I played hockey until I was about twelve years old and then quit because that is about the time it all starts to get very serious. I can’t speak first hand about such experiences so it’s hard for me to determine whose side I’m on in all of this. I’m sure the incidents range from a tyrannical, abusive coaches to hypersensitive players upset about the typical masculine and jocular behaviour of jocks. My gut tells me both, and that many heads are about to roll, some that should and some that shouldn’t.
I just hope we won’t all lose our heads in the process and crucify the innocent.
‘Tis the season of the witch hunt and in the era of social media, the concept of dealing with things on a case by case basis seems to be a difficult task to ask of the average Twitter user, who instead make everything black and white.
Time will tell just what’s in store for the nation’s favourite past time.