Greens MP John Kaye will ask parliament to acknowledge the issue of untreated Lyme disease in NSW and call on the Minister for Health to commission an independent study into the diagnosis and care of this often serious but underrated illness.
Dr Kaye said: "Lyme disease is a complex illness that has difficult testing and diagnosis procedures. Many of the various treatment strategies are contested.
"The economic and human consequences of untreated Lyme disease are too great for this health issue to be ignored any longer.
"The existence of Lyme disease in NSW is regularly dismissed, particularly by NSW Health.
"Testing and diagnosis options in Australia are insufficient. Until there is acceptance of the disease, adequate knowledge and appropriate services for suffers will always be limited.
"The lack of approved Lyme disease testing facilities in Australia poses a serious health risk. This must change. Cost and availability must not impede diagnosis of this dangerous illness.
"The Lyme Disease Association of Australia argues for greater recognition and study of the Lyme disease bacteria, its existence in Australia and the treatment of the illness. The Greens Upper House motion will address the issues confronting many suspected Lyme disease victims.
"We will be increasing pressure on Health Minister Jillian Skinner to confront this serious health concern.
"The Greens believe that this issue can no longer be ignored. Lyme disease is a serious concern across NSW, particularly in rural areas. Ms Skinner needs to listen to these legitimate concerns and take action to protect the growing number of suffers and those at risk," Dr Kaye said.
Notice of Motion
Greens NSW MP John Kaye to move
1) That this House notes that:
a) Lyme disease (LD) is a tick-borne zoonosis caused by the spirochaete bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi.
b) Increasing numbers of requests for serology tests for B. burgdorferi from patients in NSW suggest that the disease or closely related infections may be on the rise in this state
c) Definitive blood tests for the presence of B. burgdorferi are not available in NSW creating the significant and in some cases prohibitive financial burden for patients with suspected Lyme disease for whom definitive diagnosis involves a test at a North American laboratory
d) Early diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease reduces morbidity and long term debilitation.
e) The absence of NATA-certified testing facilities in Australia may be creating a public health risk.
2) That this House calls on the Minister for Health to commission an independent study into:
a) The adequacy of facilities for diagnosis of the presence of B. burgdorferi and other spirochaete bacteria in NSW and
3) That the report be tabled in both Houses of parliament.
For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455