Stop ticking 'Lyme' bomb, petition urges federal government.
Published Monday, March 6, 2017 5:15PM EST Last Updated Monday, March 6, 2017 6:50PM EST
Nearly forty thousand Canadians have signed a petition pushing the federal government to address the ticking “Lyme” bomb in this country. And Members of Parliament were meeting Monday evening on Parliament Hill to talk about Lyme disease.
For the family of a 6-year-old, that discussion can't come soon enough. Little Marley Staniszewski doesn't have Lyme disease, at least not that her parents know of.
The tick that bit her, however, did.
Just like that, she joins the growing conversation over what some believe to be a pandemic.
In these bone-chilling temperatures, it's hard to think about Lyme disease.
For Marley's mother Allie Staniszewki, though, she can't think about anything else.
“I freaked out a bit, nobody wants to find a bug in their kid's hair,” says Staniszewski, as she sits beside her bubbly daughter.
Last June, Staniszewki found a tick embedded in Marley's scalp, along with a couple on their dog, too.
“I was snuggling my dogs a lot,” says Marley, “and I think it ended up in my head by that.”
Their doctor told them not to worry but sent the tick in for testing just in case.
“The doctor called and said because she's under 8, she wouldn't get the antibiotics and not to worry because there were no signs or symptoms; there was nothing to worry about because we got the tick off in time.”
Two months later, they found out the tick tested positive for Lyme.
“It's kind of sad when your vet cares more about your dogs than you doctor does about your own kids,” says Staniszewki, “It's scary.”
Cecile Gough says there's reason to be scared. She's been struggling with Lyme for years.
“I didn't know what kind of rabbit hole I was falling into when I was diagnosed,” she says, “even though I’m a nurse, I knew nothing about Lyme and sadly my story is like anyone else with Lyme. There are thousands of people just like me in Canada who aren't being treated.”
Gough will join MP Karen Ludwig on Parliament Hill tonight for a round table discussion on Lyme disease that is now impacting 300-thousand Americans a year, according to recent statistics from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. They are also trying to firm up a plan to help Canadians who are suffering.
“There's so many of us that are engaged and interested and want to see prevention and treatment by those who are impacted by Lyme,” says Ludwig, the Liberal MP for New Brunswick Southwest, “On the research side, there doesn’t seem to be consistent agreement on what Lyme is and the best way to treat it and that's where it does need federal leadership to draw these partners together to say let's discuss this as a whole.”
Lyme Disease, carried by the black-legged tick, is on the rise with 71 confirmed cases in Ottawa in 2015, according to Ottawa Public Health. But those with the disease believe the numbers are way higher and want the public's help to stop this “ticking Lyme bomb”, urging them to sign a petition (https://www.change.org/p/minister-philpott-ticking-lyme-bomb-in-canada-fix-canada-s-lyme-action-plan-now?recruiter=7964468&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive) to ask the Canadian Government to reject its current draft Action Plan (Framework) for Lyme disease.
Lesley Fleming runs a support group in Ottawa for people living with Lyme disease and has been diagnosed with Lyme as well.
“We need the general public to help out,” she says, “They need to realize they are also at risk, one bite away from a potentially life long chronic disabling illness.”
Allie Staniszewki isn't taking any chances; she's getting Marley tested.
“I want to catch it before it gets worse, if we can.”