The Australian Dilemma

The Australian Dilemma

It is terrible to have chronic Lyme disease in the US, or anywhere in the world, but it is disastrous if you live in Australia.  The dilemma: authorities are adamant that there is no Lyme disease in Australia, and claim that any positive blood test is the result of a false positive. However, symptomatic evidence suggest a vast epidemic that baffles experts and puts the sufferers in harms way.

Lyme disease diagnosis is not common in Australia, but it appears to be grossly under diagnosed. The Lyme Disease Association of Australia estimates that there are approximately 18,000 new cases per year, and potentially 378,000 Lyme patients with more becoming infected every year.

And yet according to a recent report, there is no such thing as Lyme disease in Australia.

The report, recently released in the Medical Journal of Australia, is co-authored by ACT pathology executive director and Australian National University professor Peter Collignon and Dr Gary Lum, principal medical adviser with the Federal Health Department. “There is no convincing evidence that classic Lyme disease occurs in Australia, nor is there evidence that the causative agent, Borrelia burgdorferi, is found in Australian animals or ticks.” it says, and in addition to the historical perspective on Lyme in Australia, the report concludes with major concerns about the misuse of antibiotics.

Conversely, Perth-based doctor Hugh Derham, one of the few Lyme-literate doctors in Australia, and has diagnosed about 1000 patients with Lyme disease and believes, “…there’s something like two or three million undiagnosed people in the community who need treatment and aren’t even getting a meaningful diagnosis.” he said in an interview with News Corp.

In his submission to the Senate inquiry, Dr Derham referred to five cases that were all found to test positive for DNA of Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease) in blood, serum or skin. He claimed three of the cases could only have been acquired in Western Australia, and all five could only have been acquired in Australia.

Dr Derham believes that a strain or species of Borrelia exists in Australia that is strikingly similar to the North American strains, and he is putting his medical license and reputation on the line to help those in need.  “Basically I’m waiting for the axe to fall but it hasn’t fallen yet.”

I can’t help but be reminded of “Masters” disease or STARI – a type of Lyme disease that was methodically documented and treated by Dr. Edwin Masters for decades before the Department of Health took it seriously.

More recently, researchers from the Mayo clinic discovered a new strain of Borrelia that causes the same symptoms of Lyme just last year in 2015. One must speculate on whether the CDC would have taken any other health organization seriously as they have studiously suppressed evidence from other sources (like blood samples from Advanced Labs…)

It seems obvious to me that the bacteria is far more clever than the scientists in Australia, and that the culprit is a new stain. The very discoverer of Borrelia burgdorferi claimed that the bacteria would disappear on his slide while he was watching – making it a frustratingly difficult bacteria to study, let alone diagnose and treat.

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