Inquiry into Lyme disease a ‘waste of time’

The Senate inquiry into Lyme disease is a waste of time and resources, according to Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon.

An interim report was released on Thursday, recommending the Federal Government launch an advertising campaign to raise awareness of the disease.

It also recommended more research be done to determine whether the disease can be contracted from a tick bite in Australia.

But Mr Gannon said in a media statement a Senate inquiry should not be needed to reach such a conclusion.

“Patients with lyme-like illnesses deserve our sympathy and they deserve appropriate investigation and treatment,” he said.

Lyme Disease Association of Australia president Sharon Whitehead said the Federal Government needed to take action.

“Only a handful of doctors treat [Lyme disease]. And they are being targeted by their regulating body. Doctors are currently feeling vulnerable. Seven doctors have had treatment limitations in place because they are teating Lyme patients,” she said.

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that causes cold-like symptoms and rashes. If untreated, the symptoms can become severe.

Murdoch University, along with University of Sydney and Curtin University, has conducted research on whether Australian ticks lead to Lyme disease.

The researchers found bacteria in ticks could cause symptoms consistent with Lyme disease, but more research is needed.

Whitehead said the Federal Government needed to show some leadership on Lyme disease.

“Doctors are saying they are treating 4,ooo people. The Lyme Disease Association feels there are incidences…. nobody’s counting. The US have 300,000 cases per year,” she said.

Categories: Health, Legal, Science

Tagged as: