Nicole Malachowski: Unfit for Duty from Debilitating Tick-Borne Disease

From Department of Defense – CDMRP:

Nicole Malachowski recently medically retired from the US Air Force as a Colonel after 21 years of service as a career fighter pilot. She was the first woman in history to fly with the Thunderbirds (US Air Force Demonstration Squadron) and went on to be the Commander of the 333rd Fighter Squadron, where she trained more than 200 students to fly the F-15E fighter jet. She later served as the Deputy Director for US Air Force Readiness and Training for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. In addition, she served in the White House: first, as a fellow for the U.S. General Services Administration (2008-2009), then as the executive director of the White House “Joining Forces” Initiative (2015-2016). Ms. Malachowski was at the peak of a long and promising career.

Her medical retirement, however, was premature. At only 43 years old, she was deemed unfit for duty due to neurological damage from tick-borne illness.

Read full story here

Rep. Chris Smith Press Conference on NIH/Tick Act, Wall, NJ

Pat Smith, LDA President & Rep. Chris Smith

From the LDA, October 25, 2019

A press conference was held at the Wall Township Municipal Complex hosted by Congressman Christopher Smith (R-NJ). The Congressman highlighted information on the “NIH Strategic Plan for Tick-Borne Disease Research,” as well as “The Tick Act,” a bipartisan effort to improve research, prevention, diagnostics, and treatment for tick-borne diseases.

The bill H.R.3073, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Smith and Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D-MN). The Senate version S.1657, was introduced by Susan Collins (R-ME), Tina Smith (D-MN) and Angus King (I-ME). In addition, President Trump has asked his cabinet to do all they can to assist in helping those affected by Lyme and tick-borne diseases.

Rep. Chris Smith; Pat Smith, LDA President; Wall’s Deputy Mayor George K. Newberry; Brian Dashore; Dr. Jodie A. Dashore

The Congressman was joined by Wall’s Mayor Kevin P. Orender, Deputy Mayor George K. Newberry, Pat Smith, LDA President, Dr. Jodie A. Dashore, and LDA Board Members. LDA volunteers and members of the community attended.

(Images and video are the sole property of the LDA and may not be used without express written permission of the LDA.)

Click here for Rep. Chris Smith Press Release

Rep. Chris Smith, Wall’s Mayor Kevin P. Orender, Wall’s Deputy Mayor George K. Newberry, Dr. Jodie A. Dashore










Asbury Park Press:
‘Finally taking this seriously.’ On chronic Lyme disease, a government breakthrough
Or access article on Rep. Chris Smith’s website here

Tap into Middletown:
Ticked off: Congressman Chris Smith Perseveres in the fight against Lyme disease

Watch videos below of Rep. Chris Smith, Pat Smith, LDA President & Dr. Jodie A. Dashore from Press Conference

Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) at Press Conference on the NIH Strategic Plan for Tick-Borne Disease Research & “The Tick Act,” Wall, NJ

Pat Smith, LDA President, speaks at Press Conference hosted by Rep. Chris Smith, Wall, NJ

Dr. Jodie A. Dashore speaks on Lyme disease and children at Press Conference hosted by Rep. Chris Smith, Wall, NJ


NIH Releases Strategic Plan for Tick-Borne Disease Research

The NIH Strategic Plan for Tickborne Disease Research, October 9, 2019, is good news for everyone in the Lyme and tick-borne diseases community!  The plan builds on the activities of the Department of Health and Human Services Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (TBDWG), which issued a 2018 report to Congress outlining research recommendations.  Through inventories sent to government agencies to determine gaps in their research on tick-borne diseases (TBD), the Working Group uncovered the fact that NIH did not have a national strategy for TBD. The HHS TBDWG Report made the recommendation below in the November 2018 report: 

Recommendation 8.1: NIH: Create an NIH tick-borne disease strategic plan, with public input during creation and implementation, to address tick-borne diseases, including all stages of Lyme disease. Include in the strategic plan the coordination of research funding across NIAID, NINDS, NIAMS, and NIMH to increase knowledge of pathogenesis, improve diagnosis, and develop and test new therapeutics for tick-borne diseases. Update every five years.

The LDA President, Pat Smith, served as a TBDWG member that wrote the 2018 report. She was reappointed this year for a second term as it develops the next report to Congress  due December of 2020. 

In developing this strategic plan, as recommended by the TBDWG Report, NIH sought input from the research and medical communities, patient advocacy groups, pharmaceutical industry, and the general public.

The Lyme Disease Association submitted input to the NIH on a strategy:

The newly released NIH plan focuses on five scientific priorities important for advancing research and development over the next five years.

  1. Improving fundamental knowledge of tickborne diseases, including the biology of tickborne pathogens; how they are transmitted to humans, evade the immune system, and spread within the body. Including determining the cause of persistent symptoms in some people infected with tickborne diseases, such as Lyme disease, and furthering the understanding of how tick-derived factors contribute to the establishment and severity of disease.
  2. Advance research to improve detection and diagnosis of TBDs. Improving detection and diagnosis of tickborne diseases by developing rapid diagnostic tests that can detect a pathogen both early and late in infection and distinguish between active and past infections. NIH will support the development of diagnostics capable of predicting treatment success and identifying human biomarkers of infection and persistent symptoms.
  3. Accelerate research to improve prevention of TBDs. The new plan also prioritizes the acceleration of research designed to prevent tickborne disease infection, including vaccines, and immune-based treatments, as well as strategies to reduce the transmission of tickborne pathogens to animal populations that serve as hosts.
  4. Focusing on research to develop new treatments for tickborne diseases and techniques to reduce disease complications.
  5. Prioritizing the development of tools and resources to advance tickborne disease research by improving scientists’ access to biological samples, tickborne disease genetic data, and supporting preclinical development of promising products.

NIH intends to expand collaborations across its institutes and centers to promote a multidisciplinary approach to tickborne disease research, answer complex biological questions and encourage the application of state-of-the-art technologies used successfully in a range of scientific disciplines.

NIH Strategic Plan for Tickborne Disease Research

NIH Strategic Plan News Release

Congressman Smith praises NIH announcement (

Congressman Smith press release on NIH Strategy


Note from LDA: tick-borne disease is generally spelled with a hyphen. NIH has chosen to leave out the hyphen in its report.

10th Meeting of TBDWG – Sept 12, 2019 Summary

The tenth meeting of the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (TBDWG) was held via webcast on Sept 12, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET. 



  • Subcommittee members were announced, and the Working Group received reports from the eight subcommittees that were formed during the June 4, 2019 meeting. 
  • Two subcommittee name changes were approved, since the Subcommittees felt names did not reflect the focus of the Subcommittees. Dr. Ben Beard, CDC, presented the change to the first committee, and Pat Smith, President LDA presented the change to the second. The two Subcommittees are now 1.) Babesiosis & Tick-Borne Pathogens and 2.) Training, Education, Access to Care & Reimbursement. Dr. Beard indicated his committee needed to include more of the tick-borne diseases and not just viral TBD. Ms. Smith was concerned because Working Group discussion had included Access to Care & Reimbursement and that without that aspect in the title, patients needs  were being being removed from the focus of the Subcommittee.
  • Public comments were presented by eight patients and avocates over a 30 minute time period. Issues shared included alpha-gal, 2019 TBDWG membership as it relates to patient/advocate representation, and transparency of the TBDWG process.
  • Three topic development briefs were shared with the Working Group. A common theme throughout the briefs was that the most existing research that had been collected in this process is either inconclusive or indicates that further research is needed in each of the three topic areas presented. The three topic development briefs were: 1.) Cause of increase for tick-borne diseases, 2.) Cause of persistent Lyme disease, and 3.) State of current testing for tick-borne diseases.
  • The Working Group created a new subcommittee, Federal Inventory, to analyze the new Federal inventory content for use in the 2020 report to congress. LDA President and TBDWG member, Pat Smith, volunteered to Chair this committee and Sam Donta volunteered to be Co-Chair.
  • Pat Smith also requested the list of NIH grants be released to the public.
  • Timeline for subcommittee work and dates for the next two (in-person) TBDWG meetings were announced.

The next (in-person) public meetings will be held January 28 & 29, 2020 in Washington, DC and March 3 & 4, 2020 in Philadelphia, PA

For details visit HHS-TBDWG webpage

Comments to the TBDWG may be emailed directly to

CDC Recommends New Lyme Disease Tests Cleared by FDA

The CDC formally recommends several new serologic assay testing methods recently cleared by the FDA. The Lyme disease serologic assays, which utilize a sensitive enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for detecting pathogens, were cleared by the FDA on July 29th, 2019 and have since been determined to be acceptable alternatives for the serologic diagnosis of Lyme disease by the CDC. Serologic assays that utilize EIA rather than western immunoblot assay in a two-test format can be used in place of the western immunoblot assay as the second tier of testing.

In 1994 the CDC and FDA met with several other government health organizations for the Second National Conference on Serologic Diagnosis of Lyme Disease. The consensus reached was a recommendation for a two-test methodology which uses an EIA or immunofluorescence assay as a first test, followed by a western immunoblot assay for specimens yielding positive or equivocal results ( At the time, it was determined that evaluation of any new serologic assays would include blind testing against a comprehensive challenge panel, and that new assays should only be recommended if their specificity, sensitivity, and precision equaled or surpassed the performance of tests used in the recommended two-test procedure (

Clearance by FDA of the new Lyme disease assays indicates that test performance has been evaluated and is “substantially equivalent to or better than” a legally marketed predicate test (

According to LDA President Pat Smith, “Although it has been the hope of the Lyme community to have a new Lyme test cleared, it was always with the proviso that new technology needed to be used in test development. With the current two-tier system, which was first implemented in 1994, a positive or equivocal ELISA test is followed by the Western blot. This method is considered to be about 50% accurate by many, although treating physicians feel the Western blot is perhaps the most significant element of the current Lyme testing protocol.”

“The new two-tier testing system for Lyme disease, the ZEUS ELISA, is now being offered as an alternative to the existing testing protocol. Because ZEUS lacks a Western blot and is not a new technology, it is difficult for many to fathom how this new paradigm, that has been cleared by the FDA as ‘substantially equivalent’ to the existing testing with 50% accuracy, will improve the diagnosis of Lyme disease.”

Click here to see the CDC’s recommendation of the new serologic assay testing.

Military Developing Uniform Repellent to Replace Permethrin

As part of the Pentagon’s second annual “Bug Week,” an event organized to raise awareness of insects and the diseases they carry, the Defense Department announced its plans to develop a new and improved product that will eventually replace permethrin, the repellent and insecticide currently used to soak most military combat uniforms to protect against insect bites and stings.

Officials were unable to disclose many details about the new product, which is undergoing testing and evaluation, but did comment that the new treatment could potentially be used at a lower level of toxicity, and can possibly last the entire length of a uniform’s lifetime, an improvement from permethrin’s coverage which lasts only up to 50 washes.

Dr. James English, a global health specialist with the Uniformed Services University pointed out the many shortcomings of permethrin and stated, “We are working on a new chemical … that would also include environmental factors like sweat, ultraviolet light and abrasion, so we are trying to make it last longer.”

When it comes to vector-borne diseases, the Defense Department asserts that Lyme disease continues to be the top domestic threat to U.S. troops while mosquitoes and the diseases they carry are a major challenge overseas.

1. Military Eyes Bug-Repellent Coating to Replace Permethrin in Uniforms. [News Article]. Copyright 2019 Military Advantage.

HHS Announces Sep 12 Tick-Borne Disease Working Group Meeting

State CapitalThe Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave notice that the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (TBDWG) will hold a public meeting via webcast on September 12, 2019, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET (times are tentative and subject to change).

At the upcoming meeting, the TBDWG will receive updates from eight subcommittees that were formed and tasked with drafting a 2019 report for the HHS Secretary and Congress regarding activities and research related to tick-borne diseases, such as surveillance, prevention, diagnosis, diagnostics, and treatment (source, The subcommittees will take into consideration the 2018 report and are expected to identify gaps in tick-borne disease research as well as offer suggestions (source,

The confirmed times and agenda items for the online meeting will be posted on the TBDWG page of the HHS website.  Members of the public who wish to view this meeting online are encouraged to register. Click here to register for the September 12th TBDWG Meeting.

Article References: FederalRegister.Gov and HHS.Gov

View the announcement for the 10th meeting of the TBDWG on FederalRegister.Gov

Illinois Governor Signs Law Expanding Insurance Coverage for Lyme Disease Treatment

On August 12, 2019, Illinois Governor, JB Pritzker, signed House Bill 889 into law which will expand insurance coverage for Lyme Disease testing and treatment. According to the Governor, this new legislation has been greatly needed and is a big step forward in protecting children and families throughout the state.

Tick-borne illnesses have been on the rise throughout Illinois since 2004, and have had an especially devastating effect on working-class farming communities.

“Many are losing their homes, their businesses and their pensions to try and pay for continued treatment,” said Illinois Lyme Association Director Jennifer Russell. “This legislation provides them with desperately needed options.”

The new law will be a great source of support for families who have struggled to pay for the high costs of continuous treatments often associated with long-term recovery. “State government ought to be standing up for working families … Expanding health care coverage is one important way to help lower costs and build a higher standard of living for all Illinoisans,” said Governor Prizker.


Lyme Disease Association, Inc. has not yet reviewed this legislation.


URGENT: Your Help Needed for Inspector General Investigation

TO: Lyme Disease Advocates & Patients ActNow
Lyme Disease Association, Inc. Pat Smith, President, 8-15-19
RE: Urgent & Immediate Help Needed to Investigate Information Which Could Lead to Helping to Solve Tick-Borne Diseases Problem

ISSUE: The debate over the prevalence of Lyme disease and whether it exists in a chronic form has raged for decades. Kris Newby’s well-researched book, “Bitten,” provides documented evidence that the properties of the Lyme pathogen itself and its ally, the tick, appear to be part of our nation’s biowarfare studies. The suspicions of disease sufferers, their advocates, and treating physicians deserve investigation.

WHAT GOOD WOULD AN INVESTIGATION DO? Results of an investigation could possibly:
  • Change how tick-borne diseases are viewed.
  • Change attitudes about patients.
  • Have an impact on treatments.
  • Have an impact on tick control.
  • Lead to increased federal funding.


BACKGROUND: Swiss-American scientist Willy Burgdorfer is acclaimed for identifying the spirochetal bacteria which causes Lyme disease. Indeed, the pathogen bears his name, Borrelia burgdorferi. Yet, as the author discloses through filmed interviews and archival reviews, there were other aspects to Willy’s research. Employed by the US government and headquartered at Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Burgdorfer was enmeshed in biological warfare projects.  Ms. Newby discusses his work in Switzerland for the American government which led to the identification of a new strain of Rickettsia, a pathogen, if crossed with Borrelia, might well complicate treatment and thus be a candidate for biowarfare.  Interviews by Ms. Newby with American researchers on the topic of the Rickettsia, dubbed “the Swiss agent” by Dr. Burgdorfer, did not shed any light on the mystery pathogen whose existence seems to be buried in the past.

Ms. Newby’s discovery of tick drops and the experimental release of ticks document ongoing biowarfare research and questions the consequences if studies go awry. The prevalence of new diseases and the expansion of tick territories are examined in the context of newly revealed government studies.

CONGRESSIONAL ACTION TAKEN TO DATE: The Lyme Disease Association has kept Congressman Christopher H. Smith (NJ) apprised of Lyme disease developments over the decades including the release of the book, “Bitten,” and provided him with a pre-released copy along with our grave concerns that the quality of material and level of research merited immediate action. He read the book and took action that included educating as many in Congress as possible, which culminated with the US House of Representatives voting July 11, 2019, to pass Smith’s Amendment #355 to the National Defense Authorizations Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 (HR 2500), directing the Inspector General of the Department of Defense to “conduct a review of whether the Department of Defense experimented with ticks and other insects regarding use as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1975. HR2500, as amended, passed the House on July 12, 2019. View Amendment #355

View Congressman Smith’s Floor Speech on the Amendment

WHO OPPOSES AN INVESTIGATION TO UNCOVER THE TRUTH?: The same entities who claim there is no scientific evidence to support chronic Lyme claim— with little or no evidence— that this is a conspiracy theory perpetuated by advocates and patients. Most of them are the same individuals who have distorted information about the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. They have debunked chronic Lyme disease for decades, despite a vast amount of new research evidence from prestigious institutions on the topic of persistent infection with the Borrelia bacteria after treatment. Like their specious arguments against chronic disease, these critics do not acknowledge nor present any verified opposition to the documents chronicled meticulously by Ms. Newby over five years of visits to the government archives, the Burgdorfer home−including interviews with Dr. Burgdorfer himself, and other places where Dr. Burgdorfer gave some records he did not want the government to have.


Here’s What To Do & Say: Contact the Senators offices as explained in STEPS listed below

*Let them know you want him/her to support the Smith Amendment #355 to the National Defense Authorizations Act (NDAA) which requires the Inspector General of the Department of Defense to investigate a possible US biowarfare program involving ticks and other insects that may have contributed to the spread of tick-borne diseases.

*Tell them that the public has a right to know if there was such a bioweapons program and a right to be provided with the details on what, where, and when these weaponized organisms may have been released on an unsuspecting public.

*Explain that there may be information which could help in the fight of tick-borne diseases today, when about 427,000 cases of Lyme disease occurred in 2017 in the US according to the CDC, and about 20 tick-borne diseases and conditions are now found in the US.

Thank him/her.

Please contact with any questions. 


Congress is on recess and many Members are back in their home districts.


Look at the US Senate Armed Services Committee Table Below

1. If there is a Member who is a US Senator from your state

  • Call his/her state office (number in table below) to get a personal meeting with him/her while they are home in-state.


  • If you cannot get a personal in-state meeting with your Senator
      • Set up a meeting with a local office staff member and ask them to teleconference in the appropriate staff member from the Washington, DC office to your meeting.


  • If you cannot meet with your Senator’s office in-state, call them at the DC office number (in the table below)

After completing the above, please call as many of the remaining offices as possible at the DC number (in the table below).

Skip #2.


2. If there is NOT a member from your state

  • Please call as many Armed Services Committee members on the list below, as possible at their DC office number. Ask for whoever is responsible for the National Defense Authorizations Act (NDAA) in that office. The more Senators we contact, the better chance we have of getting an investigation.


Tips for How to Contact U.S. Senators

  • A telephone call usually has the most impact. When addressing your U.S. Senator, always refer to them as “Senator (Name)” or “The Honorable (Name)”.
  • When emailing, use the same formality as you would when writing a letter. 
  • When addressing an envelope or letter, always refer to your legislator as “The Honorable (Name)”. For the salutation, write: “Dear Senator (Name),” so your message doesn’t look like junk mail (referenced from
    • Example:
        • The Honorable (Senator’s Name) 
          United States Senate 
          Washington, D.C. 20510 
  • If your senator is the chairman or ranking member of a committee, type the full title under the senator’s name in the address block. Committee position information is included in the table below. 
  • For more information on how to contact U.S. Senators, visit OR
  • If you have any questions, please contact




See above TIPS on how to contact your Senator.

NamePRT-STCommittee PositionDC Office Ph # State Office Ph #Email/Form Contact LinkWebsite
James InhofeR-OKChair, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-4721(918) 748-5111
Jack ReedD-RIRanking Member, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-4642(401) 528-5200
Roger F. WickerR-MSMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-6253(601) 965-4644
Deb FischerR-NEMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-6551(402) 441-4600
Tom Cotton R-ARMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-2353(479) 751-0879
Mike RoundsR-SDMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-5842(605) 224-1450
Joni ErnstR-IAMember, Senate Armed Services (202) 224-3254(515) 284-4574
Thom Tillis R-NCMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-6342(919) 856-4630
Dan SullivanR-AKMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-3004(907) 271-5915
David PerdueR-GAMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-3521(404) 865-0087
Kevin CramerR-NDMember, Senate Armed Services202-224-2043701-232-5094
Martha McSallyR-AZMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-2235(602) 952-2410
Rick ScottR-FLMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-5274(850) 942-8415
Marsha BlackburnR-TNMember, Senate Armed Services202-224-3344865-540-3781
Josh HawleyR-MOMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-6154(816) 960-4694
Jeanne ShaheenD-NHMember, Senate Armed Services (202) 224-2841(603) 750-3004
Kirsten E. GillibrandD-NYMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-4451(518) 431-0120
Richard BlumenthalD-CTMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-2823(860) 258-6940
Mazie K. HironoD-HIMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-6361(808) 522-8970
Tim KaineD-VAMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-4024(804) 771-2221
Angus King D-MEMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-5344(207) 622-8292
Martin HeinrichD-NMMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-5521(505) 346-6601
Elizabeth WarrenD-MAMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-4543(617) 565-3170
Gary C. PetersD-MIMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-6221 (313) 226-6020
Joe Manchin D-WVMember, Senate Armed Services202-224-3954304-342-5855
Tammy DuckworthD-ILMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-2854(312) 886-3506
Doug Jones D-ALMember, Senate Armed Services(202) 224-4124(334) 230-0698

Back to Steps

TBD Working Group Meeting Summary/Public Comments Now Available – June 4, 2019

hhsThe federal Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (TBDWG) held their ninth meeting in D.C. on June 4, 2019 with a focus on developing the next report to be drafted for the HHS Secretary and Congress. The report will include an update on federal tick-borne disease activities and research findings.

Read Meeting Summary and Written Public CommentsJune 4, 2019 TBDWG Meeting

Still pending: Archived Webcast, Slide Presentation