But CanLyme believes the number is much, much higher, somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 to 10,0000 annually, Wilson says. The large discrepancy is due to an “extremely poor” surveillance model. “The medical community is largely still in a state of denial about it,” Wilson says. According to Wilson, the majority of physicians across the country will not give a Lyme diagnosis unless an individual had been in a known endemic area. For example, an individual who lived in a small Quebec town that is not a known endemic area — but that borders the highly endemic New York state — could not get his doctor to test him for Lyme disease. The man then went to New York where he tested positive for Lyme. Lyme endemic areas can be found in parts of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. But anyone, anywhere can be affected, cautions Wilson. “There really is no safe place in Canada any longer.” Tying diagnosis to a known endemic area does not accurately reflect how the disease is spread.
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