Lyme disease detection bill authored by Rep. Todd Hunter headed to governor

Excerpted from  ( Posted: 05/27/2011 ) 

AUSTIN — Texas physicians and nurses may be in a position to better treat and detect Lyme disease after passage of a bill authored by Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, into law.

House Bill 2975 requires the Texas Medical Board to establish a program to train doctors and nurses to better diagnose and treat the disease that is transferred from deer and other animals to humans via tick bites.

More than 1,400 cases were reported in Texas between 1990 and 2008, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, placing it in the top 10.

New York and Pennsylvania, the top two states, reported a combined 138,000 cases during the same period.

The number of cases reported in Texas more than tripled from 2007 to 2009, from 87 to 276, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Hunter said the bill is a first step in giving physicians and nurse practitioners the legal protection they need to treat and diagnose the disease without fear of reprisal from the medical board.

Hunter said whether Lyme disease exists in Texas has been a point of controversy for years.

Corpus Christi resident Charles Webb knows better.

His daughter, now in her 20s, first showed signs of the disease in November 2008.

“She had just competed in a triathlon,” he said. “She was incredibly active and fit.”

Webb and his wife watched as their daughter’s health slowly declined.

Desperate to find answers and faced with physicians in Texas who were uncertain how to treat the symptoms, they found a diagnosis and treatment out of state.

“What we’ve encountered is that there are many highly educated physicians in Texas who don’t believe we have the disease here,” he said.

For the complete article:

~ by Rob on June 8, 2011.

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