Lyme disease inquiry underway

The parliamentary inquiry into Lyme disease in Australia has got underway with a public hearing in Perth.

Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterial infection recognised in America and other parts of Europe and Asia, but there is no scientific evidence of its existence in Australia.

Nonetheless, Kate Daniels, from the Multiple Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome group, told the inquiry that five people in Western Australia suffering from conditions similar to that of Lyme disease have taken their own lives in the past three years.

She said that people with Lyme-like symptoms were being discriminated against.

“We’ve become the lepers of the Australian medical profession,” ABC News reported. “Because no one wants to know about us, no one wants to treat us. … Doctors are too afraid to treat them because of the stigma.”

But Michael Gannon, WA president of the Australian Medical Association, said the parliamentary inquiry was a farce, the ABC reports.

“Patients with Lyme-like illnesses deserve our sympathy, they deserve appropriate treatment. But this inquiry is an unholy waste of money, the only possible recommendations from this parliamentary inquiry are more research, and that research is already being done.”

Senator John Madigan initiated the inquiry, with the brief of looking into “The growing evidence of an emerging tick-borne disease that causes a Lyme like illness for many Australian patients.”

To date, the inquiry has received close to 900 submissions.

Madigan said a large number of Australians were suffering and more needed to be done.

“Get on and do your job,” he said of the government health authorities.

“You’re supposed to be there to help people,” the ABC reported. “They’re sick, they’re not putting it on and if it’s not Lyme – what the hell is it?”

Murdoch University Professor Peter Irwin is examining whether a home-grown bacterium is responsible for Lyme-like symptoms in Australians.

“We have about 70 species of tick in Australia,” he told the ABC.

“We can find organisms in ticks, we can find DNA. But attributing disease causation to those bacteria is really another step all together.

He said more research was required. “It might be linking the types of bacteria you find in ticks with the types of bacteria in people,” he said. “Then you can start to close the circle.”

Other hearings for the inquiry will be in Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney (tbc). More information is available at the inquiry website.

One thought on “Lyme disease inquiry underway”

  1. I had tick bites in Canarvon WA in 2003 and Ross river virus in around 2,000. What are the current views on Lyme disease in WA. Is there an easy test diagnosis. Is there any association with Ross river virus. Is there any fatigue association with ingesting kangaroo meat. I am often fatigued to extent of sleeping. I thought it was gluten intolerance but tests are negative. Blood tests apparently show nothing. I have had kangaroo meals last 2 days and am sleeping again in the day. The meals can now go to the family dogs. I work 6 days a week and are often exhausted for no reason.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please make sure to read our comments policy before contributing.