Lyme Disease panel at Monora Park, April 1

March 23, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh

The Environment Committee of the Mono Mulmur Citizens Coalition (MC2)  will be sponsoring a free discussion panel on Lyme disease in Dufferin County on Saturday, April 1 at the Monora Park Pavilion.

Plans for the session include presentations, displays, and handouts on the course of Lyme disease and the identification and removal of ticks.

Keynote speaker for the presentation will be Dr. Melanie Wills from the University of Guelph. MC2 board member Arnold DeGraaff says Dr. Wills “is in the department of cellular and molecular biology and has presented before on behalf of CanLyme, a national group working on educating the public and patients about preventing and coping with Lyme disease.”

Local Veterinarian Dr. Barb Lewars, will speak to the animal side of Lyme as well.  Additionally, two guests who have struggled with Lyme disease for many years will be on the discussion panel to help the audience understand the serious effects of the disease.

“This is an important issue that concerns all of us,” Mr. DeGraff said. “As the climate continues to change, the number of infected ticks is increasing in Ontario and our region.  The consequences of undiagnosed Lyme disease can be disabling for decades and at times can result in an early death.”

In December 2014, the Lyme Disease Act came into force in Canada, committing the Minister of Health to develop a strategic plan to deal with the issue. A conference to outline a framework took place last spring and public consultation on the draft closed last week.

According to the framework, Lyme disease is an illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi that is spread to humans and animals through the bite of certain types of ticks. The disease can have serious consequences, including recurring attacks of arthritis and neurological problems. Risk of exposure to Lyme disease is highest in parts of southern and southeastern Quebec, southern and eastern Ontario, as well as in southeastern Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and much of southern British Columbia.

The Lyme Disease Act requires the implementation of national medical surveillance to track rates and costs of the incidence of Lyme disease; best practice guidelines on prevention and treatment; and standardized education and awareness to enhance identification, prevention and treatment of Lyme disease.

Mr. DeGraaff says progress since the National Conference last May has been slow.  “It is a complicated disease,” he says, “difficult to diagnose and a political hot potato amongst health regulators and physicians making diagnosis and treatment far from optimal.”     

Following the MC2 presentations, and a refreshment break, there will be a panel of all the presenters and time for the audience to engage with them in questions and comments. The event is free and all are welcome, April 1st from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at Monora Park Pavilion, at 500 Monora Park Road, off Highway 10 midway between the First Street and Hockley Road intersections. For more information visit:

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