Lyme Disease (LD) in Ontario: S.O.S.

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A backronym is a group of words used as the explanation for an acronym. Hmmm…I suspect I’ve gone about that backwards. My apologies, as what I should have begun with is the explanation for an acronym, i.e. a word or name that is actually an abbreviation of letters (typically the first letters of the various words, common examples being HBC (hit by car) or LD (Lyme disease, lethal dose, let’s dance or lame duck).

A classic backronym example might be SOS, which many think equals ‘Save our souls’ and in fact is based on the desire to have a simply identified Morse code. Another being SPAM, i.e. commonly believed to mean ‘something posing as meat’, which now a days is more likely to mean an e-message nobody wants. 

Where is she going with this you might wonder? And quite rightfully so as it’s a segue way into one of my ‘love to hate because it’s entirely preventable’ topics, i.e. LD (purposely not defined so feel free to pick an LD used above).

I’ve never understood lack of movement towards prevention because of the ‘I’m waiting for the paper’ philosophy…this seems similar to creating backronyms for acronyms. In the case of Lyme disease, we know there has been a rapid expansion in tick ranges in Canada, we know these ticks carry pathogens that can cause illness in dogs and waiting to actively work towards tick prevention makes as much sense as a belief in backronyms.

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A recent article was published on LD (which here means Lyme disease) emergence in Ontario, Canada between 2010 to 2016. The paper showcases the fairly common-sense conclusion that increased ticks equals increased human Lyme disease, and that reported disease is rising over time (i.e. more cases each year) with the highest number of Ontario human Lyme cases in 2015 & 2016. 

Lyme disease isn’t going away. And that’s because Ixodes scapularis ticks that carry the agent of Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), along with potential other pathogens, are here to stay. And for those who feel comfortable heading for a hike (or into their own backyard) without appropriate tick prevention, I hope a read of this blog & CDC’s article is interpreted as my S.O.S. call for you (and your dog) to make choices to stay safe from LD, particularly as temperatures drop into this tick LD (let’s dance) zone.