NJ – Assembly Health Sub Committee Bill A269

Testimony to New Jersey Assembly Health Committee June 12, 2006
By Pat Smith, President, Lyme Disease Association, Inc.
Testimony to New Jersey Assembly Health Committee June 12, 2006
By Pat Smith, President, Lyme Disease Association, Inc.
CDC reported case numbers nationwide for Lyme have ranged from 20,000-24,000, representing only 10% of actual cases meeting the CDC surveillance criteria[ii] so up to 240.000 new cases occur annually that do meet the CDC criteria, a number that does not even include cases that fall outside the CDC surveillance criteria. Preliminary 2005 CDC numbers show Pennsylvania (5449) New York (4031), and New Jersey (3372), 1,2,3, respectively, in reported Lyme cases, with a 25% increase in NJ cases over 2004 (2698).
[iii] Studies published in JAMA and elsewhere show that Bb antibodies form immune complexes, limiting the ability of the ELISA screening test, since it can only detect free antibody. [iv]
Thanks to theNJ Assembly for unanimously approving AR-55 supporting these bills. 
NASA and the NIH have a joint culturing project for bacteria including Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease causative agent, using microgravity chambers, which mimic conditions in space and in the human body. [vii]This could lead to better success culturing this organism which now is difficult to do. The NIH has just funded a study to map the genome of the deer tick, and according to one of the NIH project researchers, tick expert Dr. Stephen Wickel, the army just kicked in almost $5 million because they fear that ticks will be used to spread bio warfare agents.[viii]
Other proposed solutions
For the Department of Health (DOH):
  • require Lyme disease continuing medical education (CME) credits for state-licensed physicians. Alert physicians about available conferences including those that cover chronic Lyme disease such as LDA/Columbia University conference and the ILADS conference to be held October 20 and the 21st/22nd, respectively, in Philadelphia.
  • develop a system to track physician-diagnosed cases that do not meet CDC criteria to determine the true incidence of the disease. The DOH already has these reports from physicians.
Department of Education (DOE): remind school districts that mandatory inservice is required for staff who have children with Lyme disease, keep properties maintained, post tick warnings where necessary, and develop trip policies reflecting high risk areas.

[vi] Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield letter to patient, August 24, 1999

[viii] Shapley, Dan Speakers Hail Lyme Research Poughkeepsie Journal April 27, 2006