Lyme disease (21.9.2017)
Written on the 22 September 2017
21 September 2017
GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)
My adjournment matter this evening is to the Minister for Health, Minister Hennessy. It relates to a disease called Lyme disease.
I want to bring this matter to the minister's attention because it has been brought to my attention that a young woman has for three years been battling the health system, as Lyme disease is not recognised in Australia, for a proper diagnosis of having Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a disease that has various symptoms, but if it goes untreated, it can have devastating effects.
The Lyme Disease Association of Australia describes what Lyme disease is. It is:"an infection caused by bacteria Borrelia. The bacteria, a spirochete, is transmitted when an individual is bitten by a vector'
. . . usually a tick.
It can have various symptoms, as I mentioned, and when it gets to the chronic stage it can have symptoms such as unexplained hair loss; headache, mild or severe; seizures; pressure in head; white matter lesions in the brain; facial paralysis; tingling of the nose, tongue, cheek or facial flushing; stiff or painful neck; twitching of facial or other muscles; jaw pain or stiffness; dental problems; sore throat, clearing throat a lot, phlegm, hoarseness and a runny nose. You can tell from that they are very unpleasant symptoms and some very serious symptoms.
Madison is a young 26-year-old who as I mentioned, has been suffering from Lyme disease after being misdiagnosed as having glandular fever. In trying to work out the diagnosis, she has visited over 30 doctors. This letter from her parents says:
"At one particular doctors visit, my daughter sat in front of a doctor, unable to eat, with a belly that looked like she was nine months pregnant, transparent skin and hair falling out in clumps and was told by the GP to practise mind freeing techniques.
After finally having a correct diagnosis Madison was forced to have her treatment in Cyprus. Her parents have spent over $20 000 in trying to get proper treatment for their poor daughter and are very frustrated and emotionally drained with what has occurred with this ordeal. Madison's initial symptoms arose following a trip to America.
The action I seek from the minister is that the Department of Health and Human Services ensures appropriate and greater awareness of Lyme disease is made available not only to the public but also to Victoria's GPs through organisations such as the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners so that, despite Lyme disease not being recognised here in Australia, these symptoms can be made aware to GPs and that earlier and more accurate treatments can be applied to those people that inadvertently and unfortunately contract Lyme disease.