Legislature Sends Feds Patterson, Ruhl Call For Action On Lyme Disease
Bipartisan resolution for better prevention, diagnosis and treatment clears both chambers
December 09, 2015
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State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Margaret Ann Ruhl (R-Fredericktown) today announced House Concurrent Resolution 5 unanimously passed the Ohio Senate with broad bipartisan support. HCR 5 urges the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take action to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Lyme disease.

“Because Lyme disease is often difficult to diagnose, many who suffer from the disease often go undiagnosed for extended periods,” said Rep. Patterson. “It was important to us, and our constituents, that we take this step to urge the CDC to improve their standards with regard to Lyme disease. The CDC recently acknowledged shortcomings in testing and reporting of the disease, and therefore we are urging them to take swift action to ensure that people do not suffer unnecessarily because our best practices are inadequate.”

Reps. Patterson and Ruhl believe successfully addressing Lyme disease issues will require a multifaceted approach. The state lawmakers worked with state agencies over the last few years to increase awareness and challenges of the disease by promoting public service announcements, public town hall meetings and informative literature that educates both doctors and patients alike.

HCR 5 is another important part of the awareness efforts, and Reps. Patterson and Ruhl hope that it will bring specific attention to the shortfalls of current diagnostic testing methods. The resolution does the following:

  • Updates definitions of Lyme disease symptoms by clinical diagnosis.

  • Reconsiders standards and best practices for diagnosing and for treating Lyme disease.

  • Provides more resources for health care professionals and the general public to learn about Lyme disease to aid in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease.

  • Improves the techniques that state and local public health agencies use to report cases of Lyme disease diagnoses so that fewer cases go unreported and the CDC can better monitor the incidence of the disease across the nation.

  • Provides the means for improved laboratory testing or funding for improved laboratory testing to enhance early detection of Lyme disease in humans.

“With the increasing tick population in Ohio, we need to further our Lyme disease awareness efforts,” said Ruhl. “Our hope is that HCR 5 will urge the CDC to make Lyme testing a priority and serve to educate Ohioans about Lyme prevention, detection, and the importance of early treatment.”

With HCR 5’s passage of both the Ohio House and Senate, the resolution will be transmitted to President Barack Obama; Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Health and Human Services; Director Dr. Tom Frieden, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; House Speaker Paul Ryan; US Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy; and the Ohio Congressional delegation. 

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