Billings council calls on province to expand testing of Lyme disease

KAGAWONG – Billings council is in agreement with a southern Ontario municipality in calling on the province to expand testing of all strains of Lyme disease and to improve the level of treatment and care for those diagnosed with this crippling disease.

In a resolution from the city of St. Catharines council dated May 31 it is explained in part that “May is Lyme disease national awareness month and St. Catharines strategic plan includes improving livability for all. The Niagara region (as is the case for the Public Health Sudbury and District’s Area) is a high-risk area for ticks and Lyme disease, and cases continue to increase. However, Ontario health does not cover treatment and testing for all strains of Lyme disease. It was further explained that Lyme disease is a crippling disease if not diagnosed and treated appropriately.” 

Billings Councillors Bryan Barker and Michael Hunt forwarded and seconded a motion supporting the St. Catharines motion calling  on the Ontario government to expand testing to all strains of Lyme disease and improve the level of treatment and care for those diagnosed with this disease. And that it be further resolved the Premier of Ontario, Ontario Minister of Health, local MPPs, Public Health Sudbury and Districts, all Ontario municipalities and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario be sent correspondence of council’s decision and be it further resolved that Mayor Anderson will bring this matter to the attention of the Manitoulin region and request that the region build an awareness campaign with online resources for families with Lyme disease. 

“The resolution is self-explanatory and is something that needs to be addressed,” said Councillor Barker.

Council Hunt noted that with global warming, and the black-legged tick moving to the North the province needs to take action to expand testing and improve the level of treatment available. 

Mayor Ian Anderson told council, “on a personal note, I worked with a conservation officer with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry who is no longer able to work because he was diagnosed with Lyme disease. This is a long-term disease, and shows how devastating the disease can be.”