WA Nats secure win for people living with Lyme-like disease

The Nationals WA have achieved an important milestone in a long-running battle to have the Commonwealth recognise that a Lyme-like disease exists in Australia and is placed on the notifiable disease register.

A motion put forward by Leader Mia Davies at last weekend’s Nationals Federal Conference will see the Party insist that doctors who are treating Lyme-like disease in Australia are protected from investigation and reprisals from medical boards and other bodies.

Other elements of the motion included calling on the Commonwealth Government to:

  • Insist that general practice and infectious disease specialist doctors are provided best practice education on Lyme-like diagnosis and treatment.
  • Ensure patients are offered affordable testing, treatment, and full access to acute and chronic disease support.
  • Commit to research on par with other infectious diseases such as Zika, SARS and Ebola.

Ms Davies said she called on the Federal Nationals to treat the matter with urgency and put the motion into action before the next Federal election.

“The thousands of Australians living with Lyme-like disease have been forced to suffer for too long without genuine support,” Ms Davies said. “Our motion is a step in the right direction and will hopefully bring about a swifter end to this injustice.”

Research at Murdoch University has found Lyme-like pathogens in Australian ticks, yet the Australian Medical Association currently doesn’t recommend prolonged antibiotic use or hyperthermic treatment for Lyme disease. 

Ms Davies said people living with Lyme-like disease had lost patience with the Chief Medical Officer who appeared to “lack understanding and compassion despite best efforts to progress recognition of appropriate treatments.”

“Very little has changed in the past 20 years and patients are losing hope, with some tragically taking their own lives,” Ms Davies said.

“To continue sticking our collective heads in the sand that we do not have Lyme-like illness here is heartless.”

Ms Davies said some Australian GPs had stopped treating Lyme-like disease for fear of retribution, further reducing the number of doctors who are willing to provide proper treatment for those who have tested positive.

“This is exacerbating the problem and needs to stop,” Ms Davies said. “We want to do everything we can to encourage our medical professionals to tackle this debilitating disease and improve the quality of life for people living with the symptoms.”

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