REBEKAH FUNK, VANCOUVER— The Canadian Press, Published Wednesday, Mar. 30, 2011:
Health officials in British Columbia announced $2 million for a study and new centre that will focus on screening, diagnoses and treatment of patients with fibromyalgia, Lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The goal of the study and a new clinic initiated by the Ministry of Health and Provincial Health Services Authority is to accurately diagnose the complicated conditions, and provide treatment and ongoing symptom management to patients.
Ryan Jabs, spokesman for the Health Ministry, said the plan has been in the works for quite some time but was announced now to address recent public concern that the province lacked proper health infrastructure to diagnose and treat patients with chronic illness. B.C. doctors have been accused of drastically under-diagnosing Lyme disease, in particular, and failing to report the cases that are diagnosed, as required.
In the past many Canadian patients sought treatment for these conditions in the United States, but Jabs said the new centre will educate local doctors on what to look for.
Jabs said it will be a hub for provincial family doctors and will provide an educational component so medical practitioners can accurately recognize and diagnose the chronic conditions.
“There’s considerable debate around the medical community, internationally and locally, on diagnosis and treatment of these types of complex illnesses because there are a lot of symptoms that overlap,” he said.
Health Minister Mike de Jong said the additional funds mean B.C. will take a leading role in this area of research.
“I hope that B.C. can help to positively impact patients across the country by studying these illnesses and learning ways to help patients manage their symptoms,” he said in a news release announcing the funding.
Currently, the cause of these debilitating illnesses is unknown, though doctors suspect an infectious agent may play a key role in a patient’s development of chronic diseases. Read more>>