Just who is being anti-science?

Canada has been hit by political problems like the rest of us – their Lyme disease bill is being challenged.

All Elizabeth May is saying is that climate change means ticks will be moving North (evidence exists) many people with Lyme disease are missing a diagnosis (evidence exists) and that Canada needs its own guidance drawn up by a partnership of stakeholders (agreed by Canada’s Public Health Agency).

So far, so very sensible.

However, an ID consultant, William Bowie, who helped draft IDSA guidelines believes patients’ views are anti-science. Guess where he got that idea from. Canada’s infectious diseases specialists feel that if you criticise IDSA guidelines, that means you are supporting ILADS guidelines. Canada’s deputy chief medical officer uses Britain’s HPA 2004 outdated “independent appraisal” of ILADS guidelines in his argument.

Why does everyone have to be so polarised? It is perfectly possible to sit down and look at the evidence independently of these two American opposing sides; many in Europe are attempting this. The true uncertainties need to be acknowledged before we can move forward.

Why are the ID doctors everywhere apparently so defensive? Why not move to the middle ground between ILADS and IDSA, as Public Health England is at last attempting to do? Why can none of us bring the ID consultants with us?

The whole purpose of science is to question what we think we know and expand our knowledge for the benefit of everyone. Who is trying to do this – the patients or the infectious diseases specialists?

… and which view are our governments supporting?

Well the good news is that the Canadian parliament has passed the bill.

This enactment requires the Minister of Health to convene a conference with the provincial and territorial ministers responsible for health and with representatives of the medical community and patients’ groups for the purpose of developing a comprehensive federal framework to address the challenges of the recognition and timely diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.