Over-the-counter Lyme disease test now available
Friday, May 20, 2016, 3:00 AM - Lyme disease has been making headlines in Canada lately, with health officials warning the ticks that can cause the chronic condition have been found in Toronto.
Not all ticks can cause Lyme disease. There are several types of ticks found in Canada, but only the black-legged ones can transmit the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi that causes the condition, and only if they are infected.
Early detection is one of the best ways to treat Lyme disease.
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Now, a new, over-the-counter test that can detect Lyme disease is available in Canada, the CBC reports. According to the publication, the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation says the test can help people who have been bitten by a tick and are concerned they have contracted the disease.
"It's another important tool ... that will eventually help show us just how prevalent the Lyme bacteria is," Jim Wilson, president of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, told the CBC.
"It should never be used to inform anybody as to whether they should go to the doctor or whether they may or may not have Lyme disease. If somebody is bitten by a tick they should seek medical attention."
While the at-home test has some limitations, its ability to detect Borrelia burgdorferi could help catch cases before they develop into something more serious.
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The test -- called the Care Plus Tick Test -- isn't regulated in Canada and it isn't classified as a medical device.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is currently evaluating its effectiveness.
HOW IT WORKS
Once a tick has been completely and safely removed from a person or animal, users crush the arachnid in a test tube solution and drop liquid on a test strip.
According to the company that manufactures the test, it is more than 95% accurate in detecting three types of Borrelia bacteria.
Whether the test results are positive or negative, it is important that everyone who is bitten by a tick seeks medical attention.
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LYME DISEASE ON THE RISE IN CANADA
More than 700 cases of Lyme disease were reported in Canada in 2015, a dramatic increase over the 140 cases reported in 2009.
Experts say the condition is on the rise due to a combination of ticks expanding northward and warmer weather, which is allowing the arachnids to survive in climates that were previously too cold.
It can take three days to one month for symptoms of Lyme Disease to occur. The condition can be successfully treated with antibiotics.
It can take three days to one month for the symptoms of Lyme disease to develop. Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease that can be identified by a rash, headache, fever, and chills. It can develop into possible arthritis and neurological and cardiac disorders, as well as chronic fatigue.
- Due to the minuscule size, bites are mainly painless and can go unnoticed until symptoms set in.
- Tick bites often resemble a 'bull's eye'; a red bite mark surrounded by rings of red, swollen skin.
SPOT A TICK?
- Remove tick immediately using fine-tipped tweezers.
- Do not squeeze the body during the removal process as this can accidentally let Lyme disease bacteria into the body.
- Do not put anything on the tick or try to burn it as this may also lead to the tick releasing bacteria into the bite area.
- Clean the bit area with soap and water.
- Seek medical attention immediately. If possible, bring the tick, or the contents of the at-home tick test, with you.