Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4) announced today that Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) funds for Lyme disease have been included in the Department of Defense Appropriations bill which passed the Defense Subcommittee last week, and the bill passed the full Appropriations Committee today. It will now move to the floor of the House. Click here for Congressman Smith’s Release
“Good news on two fronts,”said LDA President Pat Smith: “not only does the inclusion recognize the seriousness of Lyme disease for the military and provide $5 million dollars for Lyme disease research for FY2016, but it also means Lyme disease most likely will be included in the CDMRP program in succeeding years, with an opportunity to perhaps get increased funding.”
The Lyme Disease Association (LDA) thanks House Lyme Caucus Co-Chairs Congressmen Chris Smith (NJ-4), Collin Peterson (MN-7), Lyme Caucus Members and Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, DoD Subcommittee Chair (NJ-11), for their efforts to get Lyme disease included on this CDMRP list. Click here for House Lyme Caucus Letter to Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
Congressman Smith has been working on having Lyme included into the program for several years, a difficult feat. The LDA has worked with him on the issue over time and also sent in letters to the Committee and had meetings with Congressmen to try to educate them to problems faced by the military due to Lyme disease and to get Lyme on the list of diseases to be funded under the Defense Health Program.
According to the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center report, confirmed cases of Lyme disease in the services were diagnosed at more than 120 locations worldwide. Air Force (AF) aeromedical concerns may require flyers to receive a waiver to fly if they have Lyme disease.
According to the AF, “As with all infectious diseases, if recognized and treated early with full resolution of symptoms, return to flight status is appropriate. However, if untreated, then aeromedical concerns of this disease are its debilitating effects in regards to the neurologic, cardiovascular, and arthritides that may result. Neurocognitive impairment, cardiac arrhythmias and arthritic pain are all manifestations that could impact the safety of the individual and mission.” Click here for LDA’s Lyme Disease And Armed Services Briefing Paper
These new funds will help not only those in the military affected by Lyme disease, but also all of those outside the military.
Colleen Nicholson, leader of Military Lyme Support, an LDA partner organization, said “For years we hoped and prayed that something would change allowing Military service members and their families to receive appropriate care. Today, thanks to the tireless efforts of Congressman Smith and the LDA, that hope is a reality. This new funding will begin to tip the scales in favor of the Military Lyme patient, allowing them access to proper care and treatment, and hopefully lead to eradication of these debilitating diseases.”