A new federal research network for Lyme Disease is being greeted with mixed emotions from people who deal with the victims and the ticks that infect them.
The federal government is putting $4 million into starting the network which will be tasked to increase the Lyme IQ of doctors and average people alike.
Janet Sperling is a researcher at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and a member of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, which claims to provide balanced and validated information on the disease, its causes and cure.
"The Alberta Health Services people don't even test the most common tick, the one that you get a lot in Drumheller, the Dermacentor (Rocky Mountain Wood) tick, so I keep thinking there's a whole story in there so let's figure it out," she told 99.5 Drum FM.
"I would agree that probably it doesn't transmit it as effectively as the other really classic Lyme Disease (Western Black-Legged) tick," she allowed. "(However) there are many, many cases of people who have removed a Dermacentor tick, a Wood tick, and they get an expanding rash and later on they actually test positive for Lyme Disease."
Sperling explained right now, AHS either claims the victim does not have Lyme or, if it's proven they do, that it was either a Black-Legged tick or they picked it up somewhere outside the province, even when the facts don't appear to agree with that view.
"As a person, you don't really care is it Lyme Disease or is it something else, that's really not the issue," she argued. "The issue is the person is sick, the person needs to get better. I don't care what you call it, that person needs to get better and go back to work."
Sperling is headed to Ottawa on Tuesday, June 6 to talk to the people in charge of setting up the research framework and she hopes to convince them to keep an open mind and remember that people's lives are in the balance.
If you think you've been bitten by a tick, see your family doctor as soon as possible. More information on ticks and Lyme Disease is avaiable through this link.