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Congress introduces legislation to support research into Lyme disease

Category: Lyme Disease

Democratic Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine introduced legislation that would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create a committee to study tick-borne diseases and to increase public education about Lyme disease.

The Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act of 2009 was proposed because "according to some estimates, Lyme disease costs our nation more than $2 billion in medical costs each year," according to Senator Dodd.

Last year there were approximately 27,000 reported cases of Lyme disease in the U.S., according to the CDC. The disease is caused by the tick-borne bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. It was first discovered in Dodd's home state of Connecticut, which reported 3,896 cases of Lyme disease last year. According to Dodd, the true numbers of cases each year could be 10 times the reported number due to misdiagnosis of the disease.

Lyme disease can cause neurologic and cardiac complications if left untreated, and early treatment has a higher success rate. Several forms of laboratory testing for Lyme disease are available, and the CDC recommends blood tests which measure antibodies made in response to the infection.ADNFCR-2248-ID-19252736-ADNFCR

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