$4 Million Investment Boosts Lyme Disease Research Program

According to a story from Ottawa Citizen, the Pan-Canadian Research Network on Lyme Disease recently received a boost of $4 million from the Canadian government and The Canadian Institutes of Health Research. This network is headed by Queen’s University. The research is aimed to help address Lyme disease treatment, prevention, and diagnosis. 

About Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus BorreliaThis bacteria is commonly spread to humans through the bite of a tick. In the US, the species of tick associated with Lyme disease is called the deer tick or the black legged tick (Ixodes scapularis). A tick must be attached to a person for at least 36 hours to transmit the bacteria. Symptoms of this disease include a distinctive bullseye rash surrounding the bite, fatigue, malaise, headache, and fever. Delays in treatment can lead to more serious symptoms, such as facial paralysis, mood changes, memory loss, sleeping difficulties, meningitis, arthritis, and others. In most cases, prompt treatment can effectively cure the infection. Delayed treatment increases the chance of serious complications and long term, lingering symptoms. The number of cases of the disease appears to be growing annually. To learn more about Lyme disease, click here.

Tackling Lyme Disease

The network’s goals surrounding Lyme disease are broad, and they aim to learn as much as they can about the natural progression of the infection as well as monitoring the prevalence of the disease in Canada. This will include gathering data from patients in areas of the country that have already developed something of a reputation as disease ‘hotspots.’ Such regions include Manitoba, the southern shore of the St. Lawrence River around Sherbrooke, Quebec, southeastern Ontario, and the south shore of Nova Scotia. The researchers also hope to collect samples in form of skin, urine, and blood from patients.

All of this will serve to spread awareness, inform the public about signs and prevention, and nail down the best diagnostic and treatment practices. The scientists are also hoping to more clearly define the Canadian strains of Lyme and understand their unique characteristics.

The researchers expect that anywhere from 500 to 1,000 patients will take part in the research.

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