Will Lyme Disease ever by accepted in Australia?In a recent news report on the ABC 'Lyme Disease: Australians being treated worse than a dog riddled with mange', Senator John Madigan commented on the treatment, or lack thereof, for Australians suffering from Lyme Disease. The good news is that there is to be a senate enquiry into the existence and treatment of Lyme disease in Australia. Whilst Lyme disease may not necessarily present with the exact same symptoms as in the US, the fact is that it is being identified as a Lyme Like disease and is equally debilitating.
Why is it important that Lyme Disease be recognised?If Lyme disease was recognised then treatment would be available without delay. Importantly, it would also open up the possibility for more research into the causative factors and a better understanding of the disease. The longer it takes to identify and treat Lyme disease, the more long term chronic and debilitating symptoms develop. Most people are never really free of their symptoms.
- If Lyme disease is recognised early enough, prompt and efficient treatment can hopefully eliminate the infection entirely
- If Lyme disease was acknowledged in Australia people may be more inclined to apply protection when in the bush or if they live in tick prone areas
- If recognised, education would also result in the timely and correct removal of a tick from the body reducing the risk of developing Lyme disease
So you have a tick, what next?The majority of tick bites will not result in Lyme disease. Many bushwalkers will admit to dozens of bites without any harmful side effects. But then there is the one! A harsh reality for the person infected. In an article Is Lyme’s Disease in Australia 2015, the following recommendations were given: “It is important to seek immediate medical assistance if the tick has been on its host:
- for more than 4 hours,
- has not been removed correctly
- has caused an erythematous rash
- followed by cold like symptoms, aching joints, headaches, not feeling well
- or if unsure of any of the above