An agent for the protection of wildlife unable to get treated for Lyme disease in Québec

News 19 January, 2018
  • Photo Le Journal de Québec
    An agent for the protection of wildlife of Quebec, convinced of having contracted Lyme disease while working in the forest, is unable to get treatment in Quebec, in spite of a diagnosis from the us who confirms that it is being reached.

    Sophie Side

    Friday, 19 January 2018 18:02

    Friday, 19 January 2018 18:07

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    An agent for the protection of wildlife of Quebec, convinced of having contracted Lyme disease while working in the forest, is unable to get treatment in Quebec, in spite of a diagnosis from the us who confirms that it is being reached. Very badly and caught up in a real cul-de-sac, it turns to other countries in the hope of catching the better and return to his / her employment before it is too late.

    “We saw the horror. It is in survival mode, ” says bluntly Julie Francis, the wife of Rémy Fortin, 42 years old.

    The father of two young boys has never seen the tick which carries the bacterium for Lyme disease that would have infected. But being neither a hunter nor a fisherman, he is convinced that by doing his work in the woods in Charlevoix, or another region, that he has contracted the disease.

    Stop working

    The pain began as early as 2012. Rémy Fortin continued to work, but the more time that passed, the more his condition worsened. Fatigue, pain in knees, legs, arms. In November 2016, too unwell, a doctor sign a work stoppage.

    “When they saw me in the hospital, they were discouraged. They have said to me : “It does not make sense, you have the look of a living dead”, “he recalls, explaining that her pains” come and go “. Some days, though rare, are better than others.

    “When I begin to have pain, I feel like a guy who has bone cancer, I hurt everywhere. It is a pain hard to explain, ” he said.

    Chronic Fatigue, memory loss, headaches, disabling pain, difficulty of speech are only some of the symptoms on her list.

    Through these years, the agent of protection of wildlife has passed the test in quebec to screen for Lyme disease. The results each time the negative, he turns the last summer to test us, supported by his doctor.

    A no-go

    Despite a verdict positive the other side of the border, the father of the family faces a no-go. A infectiologist has written black on white that the test performed in the United States was not recognized here and thus, nothing could be done to treat it.

    “The infectious diseases physician refuses to even receive to watch her. This is our bug, ” insisted his wife. Other specialists were contacted. “There’s no one who wants to receive me,” says the 42-year-old, discouraged, worried of not being able to walk within two years if it does not heal quickly.

    The couple now based his hopes on treatments that could be received abroad, in the United States or in Germany, in particular.

    Friends have launched a campaign of sociofinancement to help them have access to it. They evaluate the bill to $ 60,000. “Me, I want to get better and resume my work, otherwise I lose my job. “

    Recognition of occupational disease

    If it reaches two years of a work stoppage, it will be ” administratively returned “, explains the president of the Syndicate of agents for the protection of wildlife, intends to lead a combat for the Lyme disease to be recognized as an occupational disease for its members.

    “Is this what we will expect this to be a scourge in Quebec to better deal with it ? It was a problem, it is necessary to try to find solutions “, ton Nicolas Roy. According to the latter, at least five officers have contracted the disease in the past five years in Quebec. “It was 3,5% of agents who may be at risk now,” he says.

    The member of parliament for Bonaventure, Sylvain Roy, a spokesman for the official opposition in the field of forests, wildlife and parks, supports the fight of the union, that it wishes to extend to all workers in the forest.

    “It is necessary to protect them and allow them to have access to salary insurance long-term and treatments worthy of the name. Currently, the government is trying to shovel it in below the carpet, “said the parti québecois, which wants a plan of action to combat this emerging disease in Quebec” which will grow with global warming “.

    The Syndicate of agents for the protection of wildlife encourages since a few days the population sign a petition, filed in November on the website of the national Assembly, which, inter alia, “the recognition of the urgent public health issue posed by Lyme disease” in Quebec.

    Lyme disease in Québec

    The cases of Lyme disease are increasing every year in Québec :

    • 179 cases reported in the province in 2016, up from 32 cases in 2011
    • About 70 % of the cases were acquired in Quebec
    • The level of risk of acquiring Lyme disease is considered to be “possible” to Quebec city and Lévis by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ)
    • In the framework of the passive surveillance programme conducted by the INSPQ, 89 ticks Ixodes scapularis are found in the region of the Capitale-Nationale region by 2015 have been analyzed. 16% of them were infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

    How to contract Lyme disease ?

    The disease can be transmitted when a human or an animal is bitten by an Ixodes scapularis tick infected by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. The tick must be “attached” 24 to 48 h on the skin for the bacteria to be transmitted. If it is, the tick must be removed as carefully as possible.