CMO progress report on Lyme disease

14 Jul 2016

In a progress report released this week the retiring Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Baggoley, provided an update on what the Department of Health (DoH) is doing in the area of Lyme disease.

On the research front, the DoH welcomed two publications providing new insight into the microbiome of some Australian tick species, including the finding of a new Borrelia sp. in ticks collected from wild echidnas. The clinical significance of this finding is still to be determined. It is anticipated that further research will be published later in 2016. The progress report also stated the department is aware of work by Professor Holmes in characterising a new virus from ticks that had bitten humans.

The progress report also refers to two Parliamentary inquiries: the special hearing on tick-borne and Lyme disease-like illnesses as part of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health inquiry into “Chronic Disease Prevention and Management in Primary Health Care”; and the Australian Senate’s Community Affairs References Committee inquiry into “Growing evidence of an emerging tick-borne disease that causes a Lyme like illness for many Australian patients”. The reports of these inquiries were tabled in May 2016.

For more information on Lyme disease and to read the CMO’s July 2016 progress report go to the Lyme disease page on Department of Health’s website.