Lyme disease: beware of ticks this summer

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of a tick infected with Borrelia bacteria and does not appear to spare any region in Quebec. Estrie is more severely affected, as are the Outaouais and Montérégie regions, but ticks continue to spread. And with climate change, Dr. Amir Khadir, microbiologist and infectiologist at CHUM, that the disease is migrating further north. for the little field mice, the white-footed mice, the deer which [sont porteurs] of these ticks all migrate to a more temperate climate.

If ticks are often found in the woods, they may just as easily be spotted in urbanized settings where the grass is longer, and not just during the hottest periods, says Carl Dubois, vice president of the Quebec Association of Lyme disease. As soon as the mercury approaches zero degrees, ticks are present in our forests, in our gardens, so we must remain vigilant from the end of winter until Decemberhe explains.

Poorly equipped medical staff

For Catherine Breton, who has had Lyme disease since 2004, the diagnosis was a real steeplechase that lasted almost 15 years.

Catherine Breton contracted Lyme disease in 2004.

Photo: Radio Canada

Constant tiredness, muscle weakness, migraines… Despite these symptoms related to Lyme disease, Ms. Breton has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis more than once, but this prognosis did not correspond to all her problems.

When Ms Breton first heard about the disease in the media, she finally understood she had it. I realized oh my god all my health issues stem from that moment. There’s a good chance it is she calls.

If Catherine Breton is now told by Dr. Khadir, she received the correct diagnosis in 2018 from a doctor in the northeastern United States, the epicenter of the disease.

For the Montreal microbiologist and infectiologist, it’s the lack of resources dedicated to researching this disease that can partially explain the results. false negativeswhich some patients such as Catherine Breton have received. 30ans lorsque j’étais sur le banc d’école, ils ne sont pas très bons.”,”text”:”Nos outils de diagnostic c’est encore ceux d’il y a30ans lorsque j’étais sur le banc d’école, ils ne sont pas très bons.”}}”>Our diagnostic tools are still the same as they were 30 years ago when I was at school. You are not very good.explains Dr. Khadir.

to prevent infections

According to Mr. Dubois of the Quebec Lyme Disease Association, it is incorrectly believed that these mites prefer to bite the legs or lower body: Ticks love places you don’t expect, like behind the ears, in the groin, behind the knees, elbows, under the armpits… That’s why it’s desirable to do a thorough check-up after a hike, he says.

During a hike it is recommended:

  • to use mosquito repellent
  • wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt
  • tuck the seat of your trousers into your socks
  • Wear colored clothing to spot ticks

In case of infection

The vast majority of patients eventually heal on their own, says the doctor, but it’s recommended to act as soon as possible after a bite. You need to remove the tick and go to the pharmacy. Pharmacists are now authorized to prescribe the first dose of medication within 48 to 72 hours after a bite. If it’s too late, doctors can prescribe a two-week course of treatment that can heal Most peopleaccording to Dr. Khadir.

dr Amir Khadir, microbiologist, infectious disease specialist and one of the few doctors in Quebec who cares for patients with Lyme disease.

Photo: Radio Canada

Some people, like Catherine Breton, are less fortunate and live with the symptoms of the disease for a long time. That’s why Quebec announced last month that clinics specializing in long-term COVID and Lyme disease will be established in several regions.

However, no implementation date has been announced.

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