JUN 1, 2017 — Two days ago, our federal Health Minister Jane Philpott announced the release of the final federal Framework for Lyme Disease – the long awaited “Action Plan” to address the growing epidemic of Lyme disease and Co-Infections across Canada and the result of almost 5 years of advocacy and Government work.
When this Petition first launched in February 2017, it was in response to the first draft of this Framework released on February 7th. This Petition asked our federal Public Health Authorities, and our federal Health Minister Jane Philpott, to “fix” the Framework, specifically by including actions to address the following severe deficiencies in the first draft we saw:
- it was silent on the divergent medical and scientific view-points
- it ignored and buried the hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific literature regarding the complex nature of this disease including persistence of infection, alternate modes of transmission and other emerging science
- it was silent on the documented risk of congenital transmission
- it was silent on Co-Infections - the multiple other serious diseases transmitted along with Lyme
- it was silent on the disproportionate risk to our children
- it had NO action to address the well-known flawed testing
- it was silent on the divergence of expert opinion on treatment protocols both in the early and chronic stages of Lyme Disease
- it failed to provide an emergency strategy that would enable existing Lyme patients to access the care that they need NOW
- it had no mention or action to address the potential tainted blood supply
- it did not address the possibility of sexual transmission
In the final Framework released on May 30th, only two of the above issues were addressed, and only in a vague and cursory manner. First, there is an acknowledgement of a second set of treatment guidelines developed by ILADS – the International Lyme & Associated Diseases Society (www.ilads.org); however the Framework makes it clear our Government continues to recommend the seriously outdated and biased limited treatment guidelines that have been in use for over a decade and are clearly not effectively addressing this crisis.
In addition, there is an acknowledgement of Co-Infections: the final Framework states that:
“Ticks may also transmit multiple other pathogens, including bacteria and viruses, with the potential to cause a range of human illness.”
However, none of the specific Co-Infections were named, and the only “action item” was as follows:
“Moving forward, a national tick-borne surveillance system will be developed that includes Lyme disease and other possible co-infections.”
The only funding attached to this Framework was $4 million which is part of a previously announced budget for health related issues associated with climate change ($47 million) and the entire $4 million has been allocated to “research”. There is no dedicated funding for education of the public, education of medical professionals or the national surveillance system referred to above. $4 million is an embarrassing, paltry sum, given the magnitude of this disease and the severity of the threat to Canadians.
In our view, this final Framework is completely inadequate, fails to address in any meaningful way ANY of the serious issues outlined in this Petition, and endangers every Canadian who is at risk of this growing epidemic.
To add insult to injury, the closing sentence of this Framework states:
“This Framework will be reviewed within five years of its publication on the Canada.ca website.”
Our Government is attempting to sweep this issue under the rug, and wash their hands of this epidemic for the next 5 years. We simply cannot allow our elected officials to ignore millions already suffering, and those joining the ranks daily across Canada.
Therefore we strongly urge you to continue to share this Petition and encourage more Canadians to comment, sign and share.
Below are two TV interviews with Jennifer Kravis and Sue Faber that aired on national evening news shows Tuesday evening in response to the release of the final Framework, as well as a CBC radio interview featuring Arlene Rill, a Lyme patient and advocate from Montreal, and Janet Sperling, a researcher and director of CanLyme.
We are determined to continue to advocate and raise awareness of the threat of Lyme disease and co-infections in Canada. Thank you for your continued support and engagement.