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2013-05-28 at 16:21

Mauro introduces private member’s bill

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By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com

A local MPP wants celiac disease testing to be covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

Bill Mauro (Lib., Thunder Bay-Atikokan) introduced a private member’s bill Tuesday afternoon in Queen’s Park asking for an amendment to the Health Insurance Act to include serological testing for celiac disease.

One per cent of the Canadian population has celiac disease, which is intolerance to gluten. The negative reaction to gluten causes damage to the small bowel and reduces their ability to absorb nutrients.

The long-term impacts can include vitamin deficiencies and the disease is associated with type 1 diabetes, Down syndrome, arthritis, depression, neuropathy, infertility and osteoporosis.

Mauro said the numbers are significant and of the one per cent of Canadians living with the disease, 90 per cent of them are undiagnosed.

“The longer they go undiagnosed … health implications obviously become more severe,” he said, but there is good news.

A serological test can be used for early detection and the solution to living with the disease is simple, affordable and effective.

“It’s simply controlled by diet. Through diet you can live a long and healthy life,” Mauro said.

Mauro said he’s aware that a private member’s bill may not be successful, but it will raise awareness around the issue.

“We have to start somewhere,” he said.

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