Lyme disease still baffles scientists

A new report from the National Institute for Excellence in Health and Social Services (INESSS) published on Wednesday concluded that there remains “significant scientific doubt” about the causes and symptoms of Lyme disease. According to the organization, the Quebec network offers “few options” to the patients concerned.

Henri Owlet VizinaHenri Owlet Vizina

“There is considerable scientific uncertainty regarding the etiology of persistent symptoms and the diagnostic and therapeutic methods that should be preferred in the management of adults and children with generalized and persistent systemic symptoms attributable to Lyme disease, whether or not they have a precedent,” the institute remarkably governs.

In the medical community, this report was highly anticipated prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially because many had been hoping for clear details about the possible “chronic” form of Lyme disease. But INESSS does not provide such a conclusive answer, and rather recognizes that the medical community is “divided over the plausibility that Lyme disease may be a cause of generalized and persistent systemic symptoms.”

> Read the INESSS report

However, the persistence of symptoms “a fact for many people, and the reason for many medical consultations and laboratory analysis requests,” accepts experts from the government agency, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS)).

According to the report, it also appears clear that patients with the disease “exhibit a range of symptoms and disabilities for which the current health system appears to offer few options.” In particular, many Quebecers have to travel to the United States to receive treatment that cannot be provided to them in the province.

Training, research and supervision

In light of these findings, INESSS recommends four formal recommendations. The first is to encourage professional orders and other associations to develop “targeted training” on Lyme disease. The exercise can also be repeated in universities and “colleges of medicine, pharmacy or nursing,” as one of them notes.

Further scientific research is also suggested, by allowing “the development of more sensitive and specific diagnostic tests for Lyme disease” that would make it possible to obtain “convincing data” about the treatments offered.

The institute stresses that it would also be wise to “document the profile of Quebecers” who suffer from this disease. In order to “reduce medical escapes” for the patients concerned, the Ministry of Social Security should also “promote the creation of a range of care and services within a single or a specific reference center,” the experts insist.

in June, Journalism Reported that Lyme disease cases, so far confined to southern Quebec, It was first recognized as being locally acquired in the northern St. Lawrence regions. Lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted by a tick bite. It is often picked up while walking in nature, especially in tall grass. It often causes significant redness around the bite site, and is often accompanied by fever and fatigue.

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