Update on the investigation of Lyme disease in Australia

28 Aug 2014

GPs will be interested that the Clinical Advisory Committee on Lyme disease in Australia (CACLD), established in 2013 by Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Baggoley, has concluded its investigation into the existence of locally acquired Lyme disease in Australia without being able to resolve the issue.

The Committee was unable to identify the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi in any tick in Australia. However, according to Professor Tim Roberts, who was a member of the CACLD, Lyme-like disease may result from a related unknown bacteria.

While the Committee has now been dissolved, its members will still be consulted regularly by the Department of Health as it progresses its interest in an Australian Lyme disease-like syndrome.

Laboratory testing for immune response to the bacteria is currently varied in approach, leading to different diagnoses for the same patients. The Department has stated that it is working to see if these approaches can be harmonised. It also states the continued search for evidence for a causative organism is the only way that uncertainty can be resolved, and is monitoring progress made in research.

The DoH advises that in the meantime, doctors must always use their best clinical judgement as to the cause of any illness their patients may be experiencing and act accordingly.

More information is available on the DoH website.

Image by By Hannah GarrisonJongarrison at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons