Yet, who did know that the "widespread misuse of the current Lyme disease surveillance case definition" was being "misused" to set a standard for care? Who did realize that for proper tracking, research and care we needed to "to include a broad range of scientific viewpoints"? Who has already understood that some patients "have encountered some difficulty when applying for assistance through SSA offices"?
Well, the federal government did. Look at the text of this bill signed by President Bush in 2001:
Public Law 107-116
Departments of Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act 2002
Signed by President Bush 1/10/02
(Passed by the Senate (11/06/01, 12/20/2001) and House (10/11/01, 12/19/01) and included as part of the final bill was signed into Public Law)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Lyme Disease
- The Committee is deeply concerned about the safety of the Lyme disease vaccine (LymeRix). Over 1,000 adverse event reports were filed with the Food and Drug Administration from December 1998 to October 2000. The Committee encourages CDC to work closely with the FDA to ensure that all adverse event reports are thoroughly and expeditiously investigated to ensure public safety as the vaccine is being distributed. Investigators should pay particular attention to patients' reports of arthritis when evaluating these reports.The Committee recognizes that the current state of laboratory testing for Lyme disease is very poor. The situation has led many people to be misdiagnosed and delayed proper treatment. The vaccine clinical trial has documented that more that one third (36 percent) of the people with Lyme disease did not test positive on the most sophisticated tests available. The ramifications of this deficit in terms of unnecessary pain, suffering and cost is staggering. The Committee directs CDC to work closely with the Food and Drug Administration to develop an unequivocal test for Lyme disease.
The Committee is distressed in hearing of the widespread misuse of the current Lyme disease surveillance case definition. While the CDC does state that `this surveillance case definition was developed for national reporting of Lyme disease: it is NOT appropriate for clinical diagnosis,' the definition is reportedly misused as a standard of care for healthcare reimbursement, product (test) development, medical licensing hearings, and other legal cases. The CDC is encouraged to aggressively pursue and correct the misuse of this definition. This includes issuing an alert to the public and physicians, as well as actively issuing letters to places misusing this definition.
Thing is: it's 2010 and none of these issues have been addressed. That's nine years later. What happened?The Committee recommends that the CDC strongly support the re-examination and broadening of the Lyme disease surveillance case definition by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. Voluntary and patient groups should have input into this process. Currently there is just one definition (`confirmed case') of seven possible categories. By developing other categories while leaving the current category intact, the true number of cases being diagnosed and treated will be more accurately counted, lending to improved public health planning for finding solutions to the infection.The CDC is encouraged to include a broad range of scientific viewpoints in the process of planning and executing their efforts. This means including community-based clinicians with extensive experience in treating these patients, voluntary agencies who have advocacy in their mission, and patient advocates in planning committees, meetings, and outreach efforts
- National Institutes of Health - Office of the Director Lyme Disease
- The Committee recommends that the NIH improve its communication across Institutes in order to better coordinate Lyme disease research and outreach to public and private scientists with the goal of stimulating research interest in this field. The Committee encourages the Office of the Director to involve NIAID, NHLBI, NINDS, NEI, NIMH, and NCCAM in promising areas of research. The Committee urges NIH officials to identify appropriate NIH advisory committees for Lyme disease representation and ensure the appointment of qualified persons. The NIH is encouraged to include a broad range of scientific viewpoints in the process of planning and executing these efforts, including community-based clinicians with extensive experience in treating these patients, voluntary agencies who have advocacy in their mission, and patient advocates.
- Social Security Administration
The Committee understands that some patients with Lyme disease and other tick-borne disorders have encountered some difficulty when applying for assistance through SSA offices, due to SSA employees' unfamiliarity with these illnesses. SSA is encouraged to work on developing educational materials for SSA employees to facilitate a better understanding of the potential debilitating effects of these disorders. The Committee suggests that SSA collaborate with clinicians who have expertise on the multi-system chronic effects of Lyme, as well as patient and voluntary communities, to accomplish this goal."