vanessa farnsworth's blog

Defining Moment: Should We Reconsider How We Are Defining Lyme Disease?

Forest path

One of the interesting things about Lyme disease is that it doesn't currently have a definition that's universally agreed upon, something that has led to a great deal of rancour, confusion, and wildly unproductive conversations. I've come across many situations where it hasn't been totally clear that everyone involved is talking about the same illness. I mean, they're all calling it Lyme disease, but often the name is the only thing they can agree on.

Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics

Man and woman and heart

In Canada, Lyme disease has been nationally reportable since 2009 which means, in essence, that whenever a doctor diagnoses a patient with it or a test conducted by a public health laboratory comes up positive, those cases are supposed to be reported to the proper authorities who can then use them to track important information relating to Lyme disease in this country.

The Mystery of Chronic Lyme Disease

Detective looking at footprints

I'd like to take a moment to reflect on the major theories regarding the causes of chronic Lyme disease symptoms. Keep in mind that these are not the only theories. Rather they're the ones that have clawed their way to the top of the heap since Lyme disease patients first started reported lagging symptoms back in the 1970s, long before before Borrelia burgdorferi was identified as the illness's causative agent.

Holding Pattern

Audience at lecture

The "Conference to Develop a Federal Framework on Lyme Disease" ended on Tuesday with a recognition that public health policy on Lyme disease has fallen far short of what Canadians demand. As conference co-chair Dr. Gregory Taylor put it, "If what we are doing is not making a difference to individual Canadians, it's not good enough." And it was clear to everyone that what health authorities have done for Lyme sufferers so far is not nearly good enough.

Truth and Reconciliation


The legislatively mandated Conference to Develop a Federal Framework on Lyme Disease kicked off on Sunday with a public forum designed to allow Lyme disease sufferers to tell their stories. And tell their stories they did.