HRC Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a serious illness that is on the rise in Canada. It is caused by the bite of blacklegged ticks infected with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. The geographical distribution of the animals that host the infected ticks is expanding and so are the cases being reported. Health Canada is reporting a more than 300% increase in reported cases in Canada since 2009.
Lyme disease symptoms vary with some people experiencing none at all while others report severe symptoms that may first present weeks after the initial infection. Symptoms may include: fatigue; rash; fever or chills; spasms; numbness or tingling; cognitive difficulty or dizziness; nervous system disorders; muscle and joint pain; abnormal heartbeat. Without diagnosis and treatment symptoms may last for years. Fatalities have been reported.
Dr. Nick Ogden
Senior Research Scientist, Zoonoses Division,
Centre for Food-borne, Environmental and
Zoonotic Infectious Diseases,
Public Health Agency of Canada.
Dr. Nick Ogden is a UK-trained veterinarian (University of Liverpool, 1983). After 10 years of mixed clinical practice, he then completed a doctorate in Lyme disease ecology at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford in 1996. During the six years he spent as a lecturer at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, he continued his research of tick-borne diseases of public health importance in Europe and those of importance to livestock production in Africa. In 2002 he moved to Canada, where he continued research on Lyme disease at the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Dr. Ogden spoke about the following in his presentation:
The emergence of Lyme disease in Canada – Why now and where
What we can do about it – surveillance, prevention, control and diagnosis
What we are doing about it – the PHAC Lyme Disease Action Plan
Dr. Tara Moriarty
Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
Dr. Moriarty studies several fundamental mechanisms underlying blood borne dissemination of bacterial pathogens. The major model organism she studies is Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease using a wide range of techniques from genetics, molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics and physiology, as well as powerful live cell imaging approaches for investigating the molecular basis of dissemination in living organisms.
Dr. Moriarty covered the following in her presentation:
Emerging topics in Lyme disease research
Lyme disease research in Canada
Key areas where we need to do made-in-Canada research
Obstacles and opportunities for made-in-Canada Lyme disease research