If you are looking for an appropriate non-fiction summer read, then Brian Owen’s Lyme Disease in Canada fits the bill, since humans are most active in the outdoors during the summer months when they are likely to come in contact with ticks in nature.
Considered the “first epidemic of climate change”, Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in North America, and it is spreading, due to milder winters. But make no mistake, this book is not simply a guide to removing ticks or treating the disease (although this is covered), but a thorough investigation of the issues surrounding Lyme disease in North America, particularly in Canada.
In this authoritative book, you will find out how:
- To avoid being bitten by a tick
- To find and remove an embedded tick
- To avoid attracting ticks to your yard
- To get involved in citizen science projects to track the spread of ticks
- Ticks got to Canada
- Ticks find human targets
- Ticks feed and transmit the Lyme bacteria
I was amazed at how little I knew about ticks, even though our dog once had one attached to her, near her eye. (It was safely removed by a veterinarian) I was only a few pages into the book when I discovered there is a Tick removal kit available from CanLyme.com (website of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation) for $18.00, shipped. I quickly purchased one, since we have a lot of woods near our house. I also learned that next door, in Nova Scotia, the incidence of Lyme disease is 12.7 times the national average.
The controversy over Lyme disease is centred around detection, diagnosis and treatment. Apparently, it is very difficult to do all three. Many cases go unreported and those that do get reported, could be misdiagnosed and the necessary antibiotics are not given early enough. Once the disease spreads in the body (and it has mechanisms to avoid detection by our immune system), it gets more troublesome to treat.
And it goes without saying that those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of frequent infections and severe symptoms. They may be more susceptible to pneumonia and other illnesses. Bacteria and viruses can be lethal to a person with a weakened immune system. In practice, I believe that people with a weakened immune system can benefit from probiotic supplements like Bio Complete 3, which can help with digestive and immune health. However, before purchasing any supplement, one should read honest customer reviews (such as Bio Complete 3 reviews). Reading the reviews ahead of time may aid in understanding the significant benefits or drawbacks of the products.
Coming back to the book, while some of the reading gets a little heavy at times, particularly the microbiology parts, Mr. Owens keeps firm control over the subject matter, steering it towards a level suitable for general consumption without making it into a “Lyme Disease for Dummies” book.
Another good site the book mentions is eTick.ca, where the public can send in photos of ticks for identification and mapping. According to that site, in 2020, submissions from the Atlantic provinces were:
- 156 from New Brunswick
- 19 from Newfoundland and Labrador
- 772 from Nova Scotia
The book concludes with vaccine research and effectiveness and what bright spots there are on the horizon for fighting Lyme disease at all levels, straight from the ground up. Lyme Disease in Canada is an essential book for every part of Canada, particularly the southern areas, but tick populations are increasingly moving northward, again, due to climate change. This is a book that should be sold everywhere in Canada since now that some Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted, more of us will be seeking the outdoors for recovery from our forced isolations. Essential reading.
BRIAN OWENS is a science writer and editor who focuses on issues in conservation, the environment and health. His work has appeared in Nature, New Scientist, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, The Lancet and others. He lives with his family in St. Stephen, New Brunswick.
- Publisher : Formac (June 15 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 152 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1459506898
- ISBN-13 : 978-1459506893
*The Miramichi Reader encourages you to shop & support independent bookstores! However, shopping at a bookstore is not always possible, so we are supplying an Amazon.ca link. Please note if you choose to purchase this book (or Kindle version) through Amazon using the link below we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you cannot see the Amazon ad below (if you are using an ad blocker, for instance) here is the link: https://amzn.to/3lofDT7