Westchester, NY – Senator Schumer Press Conference

Remarks of Pat Smith, President, Lyme Disease Association, Inc. (LDA) Senator Schumer’s Press Conference, New York, August 12, 2004 [email protected] 888 366 6611 

  Remarks of Pat Smith, President, Lyme Disease Association, Inc. (LDA) Senator Schumer’s Press Conference, New York, August 12, 2004 [email protected] 888 366 6611  www.LymeDiseaseAssociation.com

Lyme is the most prevalent vector-borne disease in the US and the most prevalent vector-borne bacterial disease in the world. Different ticks are now carrying the disease, their range is spreading, and with one bite, you may contract not only Lyme but diseases such as babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, bartonella, tick paralysis, and tularemia, complicating an already difficult diagnosis and treatment regimen.

From poppy-seed to sesame seed size, deer ticks, the main tick vector, can transmit a bacteria that can wreak untold havoc on the infected individual and family. Dozens of doctors, years of treatment, lost income, and piles of unpaid medical bills are only part of the scenario; the lack of emphasis placed on Lyme disease by many in the medical and governmental communities is another. To help address that issue, LDA and Columbia University will jointly present Lyme & Other Tick-borne Diseases: Technology Leading the Way Medical Conference in the Hilton, Rye Brook, NY on Oct 22, 2004, for physicians and health care providers and the public. I invite the Senator to stop in.

Lyme disease is serious. It can enter the central nervous system within hours of a tick bite, it can hide in your cells: a Sept 2004 article in The American Journal of Pathology presents research that confirms that the bacteria is able to hide in certain places in the body (skin & Joints) and evade the immune system. Also, it can mutate, change into forms unrecognizable to conventional antibiotics, and (picture, credit David Dorward, NIH Rocky Mt. Labs) it can go in and kill cells it is supposed to be killed by. It can even perform a Star Wars maneuver: it can enter your cells and come out cloaked in the body’s own membrane, unrecognized as the enemy it is. It can cross the placenta, it can cause birth defects and death of the fetus, and it can kill those infected.

Lyme can attack every system in the body and can mimic many other conditions including MS, ALS, CFS, FM, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and even autism.

The bacteria can survive in blood under blood banking conditions, and the Red Cross has changed blood donor guidelines now prohibiting those diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease from giving blood.

Our children are at the greatest risk of acquiring the disease, and they may spend years out of school due to effects of the disease. Columbia University research has demonstrated a 22 pt. IQ drop in a Lyme patient, reversed with treatment.

LDA and its CT affiliate Time for Lyme are partnering with Columbia University to open an endowed research center there for studying chronic Lyme disease. LDA is also supporting research mapping genomes of different Lyme bacteria. Unfortunately, the monies our organizations can provide are relatively small, but research requires a concrete monetary commitment commensurate with Lyme’s status. Between 220-240,000 new cases of Lyme disease develop each year, and 10-15% of Lyme patients go on to develop chronic disease.

We owe Senator Schumer a thank you for initiating the process which can obtain that commitment from the government with monies dedicated to a gold standard test, evaluating the CDC criteria, which is being used improperly for diagnosing, performing treatment studies, providing physician education and prevention.

Remember, Lyme disease does not discriminate, nor does it confer immunity. It does not require any risky behavior beyond walking the dog, jogging, or playing in the backyard sandbox. The only thing standing between you, your family, and Lyme disease may be the power of these new monies to unlock the secrets of Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacteria causing Lyme disease.

Thank you.