RE: Health units to study climate change, July 25.
Using a Health Canada grant, Shawn Zentner of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) purports that he and his colleagues are going to prove that climate change is the cause of health problems, such as Lyme disease, in the area.
In actuality, the $300,000 grant is nothing more than a way to squander Health Canada funds.
The real issue is what are the cancer-causing toxins that are present in our food, drinking water and medications-not climate change. It is highly unlikely that Zentner can show that climate change has any effect on the incidence of Lyme disease and West Nile virus in the WDGPH area. As is often the case, climate change is often confused with seasonal variation of temperatures.
The blacklegged tick, the primary transmitter of Lyme disease in this area, is eco-adaptive, and can withstand temperatures ranging from -44 to 36 C at Kenora. When it comes to ticks, climate change is a non-issue. Instead of studying ticks and climate change, we desperately need Lyme-literate training for health-care practitioners in Canada.
Currently, more than 1,500 Ontario Lyme disease patients are travelling to the U.S. for diagnosis and treatment. At the same time, Ontario clinicians are woefully unschooled about Lyme disease and associated tick-borne zoonoses.
Trying to prove that climate change is the cause of Lyme disease and associated vector-borne diseases is nothing more than a pipe dream and a colossal waste of taxpayers’ dollars.
In essence, this climate change proposal is another case of misusing Government of Canada funds.
John D. Scott,