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Lyme advice contentious

Editor, The letter from Jim Wilson, President of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (Lyme advice a disservice, Aug.


The letter from Jim Wilson, President of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (Lyme advice a disservice, Aug. 21), accusing me of posing a "potential danger" to readers of my column in The Chief, reflects his personal take on some highly contentious issues.

For example, Wilson believes strongly in the effectiveness of antibiotics for treatment of Lyme. Many physicians disagree, limiting antibiotic use, rather than creating immunities and damaging the patient's immune system for what they believe to be questionable benefits.

Similarly, he takes the position that a Lyme vaccine introduced in 1998 is totally ineffective. This is highly controversial. Both the US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease control consider the vaccine to be of value.

For reasons that escape me, Wilson speaks of transmission of Lyme disease through the placenta, organ transplants and blood, none of which I dealt with in my columns. What I did say is the Lyme is not a contagious disease, and this is correct.

Nor did I deal with migratory birds carrying ticks into our area or say that Lyme is "not a concern" here. I wrote that the disease is endemic and potentially very serious, but not present on the epidemic scale of the northeast U.S., a consequence of ecological factors that are not replicated in B.C.

Although tick removal is not "easy," as Wilson suggests, it can be done in the wild, where ticks are most often contacted - provided you have a drinking straw, thread and a second person to do the job. For details go to

Wilson appeals to readers to "be aware and educate yourself in prevention," something I was at pains to do in my articles with suggestions for clothes to wear in the bush, inspecting yourself closely after an outing and tips on maintaining a healthy immune system to resist infection.

Finally, I was gratified to receive a letter from the Dr. E. Murakami Centre for Lyme Research, Education & Assistance, thanking me for my "forward thinking and tenacity in reporting on this highly controversial and neglected issue." It's perhaps worth noting that the centrepublished a disclaimer on its website, distancing itself from some of Jim Wilson's views.

Dr. Ashely Gordon


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