Many different reports exist on the number of Lyme disease cases in Canada. A 2021 report claims that Lyme Disease is rising, with over 2,800 known cases being reported. This means there are likely a triple or quadruple number of actual patients. One reason for inaccurate reporting is that Lyme testing in Canada is unreliable.
Understanding Lyme Testing In Canada
The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) recommends that Lyme tests have a 95% sensitivity to accurately detect the spirochetes or Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. In Canada today, there are only two tests available. The ELISA, or Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay, is only 65% accurate. Some doctors think this number is high, and the test misses more than 35%.
The other test used in Canada is the Western Blot, which many claims are more sensitive than the ELISA. Unfortunately, doctors only order the Western Blot in cases that test positive for ELISA. This means you could have Lyme disease but not receive further testing or treatment because your doctor only relied on the first unreliable test.
It’s no wonder Canadians are frustrated.
Why Are the Tests Unreliable?
When you become infected with Lyme disease, your body creates antibodies to fight Lyme bacteria. It can take several weeks for your body to develop antibodies. If you are tested when antibodies have yet to form, your test will not be accurate.
It’s also good to know that Lyme bacteria can outsmart tests and treatments. They build tiny shields called biofilms to protect them from detection. A biofilm prevents antibodies from binding to the bacteria and flushing it out of your system.
Also, bacteria can go dormant or inactive and then active again. This is terrible news when testing for Lyme disease. It’s impossible to know when the bacteria will go dormant. If you are given the ELISA when the bacteria are inactive, you will receive a negative result for Lyme disease.
Unreliable Lyme disease tests lead to incorrect diagnoses or no diagnosis, leading to early disseminated symptoms that can be painful. Symptoms may include flu-like symptoms, headaches, joint pain, neck stiffness, facial paralysis, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.
Unused Testing Options
With advancements in infectious diseases, there are now more ways to test for Lyme disease. In Canada, antigen tests search for a Lyme disease protein in body fluids. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) detects Lyme DNA. However, if the DNA is not in the sample, you will receive a false negative.
Most doctors do not consider using these additional tests unless the first test, the ELISA, tests positive for Lyme disease.
Unfortunately, general practitioners do not test for co-infections that can cause similar symptoms to Lyme disease. Deer ticks carry many types of bacteria, not just Lyme. Babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis are a few examples.
It is crucial that anyone suspecting they may have Lyme disease know there are Lyme-literate doctors out there who do use these tests and alternative methods. Lyme Mexico, for example. Their doctors analyze blood under a microscope to identify spirochetes, something general practitioners will do.
Frustration with Lyme Testing in Canada
According to studies, Canadians are frustrated with the healthcare system’s response to Lyme disease. Participants report adverse outcomes of seeking help through the healthcare system, including:
- Being misdiagnosed because their doctor thought their symptoms were related to something other than Lyme disease. Lyme is called the great imitator because it produces symptoms common in the flu, cold, arthritis, lupus, etc.
- Receiving no diagnosis due to doctors failing to administer the correct tests. Some report meeting with multiple specialists, all of whom could not determine the source of their symptoms.
- Receiving antibiotic treatments but not soon enough to effectively treat Lyme disease.
Patients claim they were left feeling belittled, laughed at, and as if their doctor did not believe them and did not care.
These experiences will lead many Canadians to seek treatment outside their traditional healthcare network. They wisely seek help from Lyme-literate doctors.
There aren’t many Lyme-literate doctors in Canada. When seeking help, don’t be afraid to consult with doctors outside of Canada. Clinics like Lyme Mexico have patients from around the world. Plus, there are advantages to choosing a Lyme-literate doctor. Remember, you want the best help, not the cheapest or the closest.
Lyme-literate doctors spend a great deal of time examining lab work and reported symptoms to make an accurate diagnosis. They also have modern equipment to perform advanced treatments to eliminate Lyme disease from your blood.
Alternative Lyme Disease Treatments
What would you do if you learned a doctor could remove and replace your infected blood with new, donated, healthy blood? It’s true. They perform procedures like this, called therapeutic apheresis, at Lyme Mexico.
Antibiotic infusions, vitamin infusions, and detoxification are great additions to any treatment plan. Other alternative treatments include biofilm eradication, photopheresis, and bartonella treatment. The goal is to find a way to bind to the protective coating on bacteria so it can be flushed out of your system.
Hyperthermia is what occurs when you get a virus. You get a fever, your body’s tool for attacking foreign agents, like bacteria, and destroying them. Hyperthermia uses your body’s temperature to boost your immune system and force out Lyme bacteria. Because you can’t cause your fever to rise, your doctor can use new technology to make it happen safely.
Regenerative therapies use your stem cells to regenerate healthy cells to fight Lyme bacteria. In addition, a Lyme-literate doctor can administer anti-fungal, antioxidant, and anti-viral protocols.
Key Takeaways of Lyme Testing In Canada
Lyme disease is affecting Canadians, just as it is people in the United States and around the globe. The number of diagnoses is rising, so knowing where to get the best treatment as soon as possible is essential. When searching for a doctor, don’t limit yourself to another specialist with a healthcare network that may or may not know what to do.
Instead, find a Lyme-literate doctor established as a leader in the industry. This is important even if you must travel outside of Canada.