The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Government of Canada invest $4 million in a new multidisciplinary research network that will bring together scientists, clinicians, and patients to address gaps in the approach to prevention, control, diagnosis, and treatment of Lyme disease.
With Lyme disease becoming more prevalent each year, this funding comes at a crucial time, especially with the threat of climate change. The Pan-Canadian Research Network on Lyme Disease will be led by Queen’s University professor of Emergency and Family Medicine Kieran Moore. Their multi-pronged mandate seeks to make a national impact on health outcomes, practice, programs and policy related to Lyme disease.
“We would like to thank the Government of Canada and CIHR for the opportunity to advance the science of Lyme disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment,” says Dr. Moore, who is also the medical officer of health with Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health. “Our network, based at Queen’s University, will collaborate with patients and our many academic and government partners to protect the health of Canadians from coast to coast. We will provide the national capacity to have a coordinated, integrated, and multidisciplinary response to the emerging infectious disease threat of Lyme disease.”
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by bacteria transmitted to people through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Symptoms of Lyme disease can vary from person to person, but most people experience an expanding red rash at the sight of the tick bite, fever, chills and flu-like symptoms while others may have more serious symptoms, such as heart, joint and neurological disorders.
“With the incidence of Lyme disease on the rise in Canada, Dr. Moore and his team will be uniquely positioned to respond to the research gaps related to Lyme disease in Canada,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, interim vice-principal (Research) at Queen’s.
This federal government’s investment, through CIHR, in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada, is part of a concerted commitment to support the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The Pan-Canadian Research Network on Lyme Disease also builds on Canada’s ongoing efforts to tackle the illness through surveillance, research, sharing of best practices, laboratory diagnostics and testing, prevention education, and public education and awareness.
“The Government of Canada is proud to support a research network that focuses on collaboration between Lyme disease stakeholders from across the country to improve patient outcomes and access to care,” says Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health for the Government of Canada. “We understand that Lyme disease is emerging in many parts of the country, due in part to climate change, and we are committed to minimizing the public health risk associated with this disease.”