Increase Funding for Lyme Disease Research

Deer tick: from burnthillsveterinaryhospital

Target: Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health

Goal: Increase federal funding for Lyme disease research

Lyme disease is the sixth most common reportable illness in the United States. It can cause meningitis, tremors, kidney failure, gastrointestinal problems, facial paralysis, severe fatigue, arthritis, and even psychiatric disorders. Untreated Lyme disease can occasionally be fatal. It is estimated that Lyme disease is at least 4 times more common than HIV, but we don’t know that for sure because very little research has been put into it.

Lyme disease is caused by deer tick bites. The first symptom is usually a rash consisting of a red spot in the middle and a ring surrounding it, like a bull’s eye. However, not all people have the rash. Other initial symptoms can include swollen or fluid-filled joints. Treatment within three weeks is most likely to curb any damage. Although treatment with antibiotics is usually effective, Lyme disease sometimes stays in the body and symptoms can recur over time.

Lyme disease is most common in the Northeast and the upper Midwest where deer ticks abound. If you go into the woods, cover your body and tie your hair back, then check yourself for ticks when you come home. If you see one, pull it off with tweezers. Blood tests are available, but again, more research has to be done to develop more effective testing.

There is no good excuse for the lack of funds being put into Lyme disease research. It could be just as common type 2 diabetes, can be just as damaging, and is not caused by lifestyle. We don’t know how many people have Lyme disease, we don’t know how many patients have been cured of it, we don’t know how many sufferers continue to have debilitating symptoms, and we don’t really even have a reliable way of determining if someone is infected.

Please urge Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, to put more funding into Lyme disease research as soon as possible.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Collins,

Lyme disease is the sixth most common reportable illness in the United States. It is estimated that 4 times as many people have Lyme disease as have HIV, and the number of people infected could be similar to the number of people who have diabetes. Lyme disease can cause meningitis, kidney and gastrointestinal problems, paralysis, arthritis, and psychiatric disorders. It can even be fatal.

However, very little is known about Lyme disease. We don’t know how many people have it, how often patients are cured, how common it is for patients to suffer recurring symptoms, or how many people are completely incapacitated by the disease. It is difficult to test for, and therefore, many patients don’t ever get treatment.

Please increase funding for Lyme disease testing and treatment at the National Institutes of Health as soon as you can.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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