Senate inquiry into Lyme disease racing to produce report before election
Excerpted from the Canberra Times : (05/01/2016)
A Senate committee is racing to publish a report about the controversy surrounding Lyme disease, before its inquiry is shut down by the early election.
Committee chairwoman Senator Rachel Siewert said the inquiry had heard evidence from health experts and people who believed they had the disease, even though the bacteria has not been found in Australia.
“The key issue here is people are clearly sick, so being heard is really important so that people don’t feel like they’re being dismissed,” she told Fairfax Media. “There’s clearly something going on.”
The Senate inquiry is being conducted under the title: “Growing evidence of an emerging tick-borne disease that causes a Lyme-like illness for many Australian patients.”
The driving force behind the inquiry, independent Senator John Madigan, is calling for an interim report to be written as soon as possible to allow the committee to “put a stake in the ground” before its work is disrupted by the federal election.
The committee’s hearing at Parliament House recently was the final chance for people suffering Lyme disease to plead for help, before the election.
A Canberra infectious diseases expert, Professor Frank Bowden from the Australian National University medical school, has challenged the growing power of advocates who say Lyme disease has come to Australia.