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Insight into Lyme disease on SBS

LYME disease, the tick-borne illness which is still officially non-existent in Australia despite huge amounts of anecdotal evidence to the contrary, will be the subject of the SBS talk show Insight tonight.

The issue of Lyme disease in Australia has recently become the subject of a parliamentary inquiry by independent Victorian senator John Madigan, who in March this year described its sufferers as "medical refugees in their own country”.

Inquiry to help Northern Rivers Lyme disease sufferers

Insight will hear from Australians who believe they have been infected by the illness, including top tennis player Samantha Stosur who was hit by the illness following a tick bit in 2007.

The world number 20 was diagnosed by an infectious disease specialist who was adamant it was Lyme and treated with heavy doses of antibiotics for eight weeks.

As a result, she made a full recovery.

But others haven't been so lucky.

In recent years The Northern Star has covered the stories of several Northern Rivers residents who have been incapacitated for years by what they believe was a Australian variation of the disease.

For many, seeing a GP didn't help. One woman was laughed at, while another was suggested to she suffered from psychosomatic illness.

Lyme Disease sufferer endures long battle with medical world

Some GPs have been willing to treat the disease with a prolonged course of antibiotics, but this is frowned upon by medical authorities - because the disease doesn't officially exist here.

Insight will feature Bellingen-based GP Dr Gull Herzberg, who has treated many Lyme patients on the Northern Rivers.

It will also feature several patients, and Royal College of Pathologists spokesman Professor Steven Graves, who released a 2014 statement dismissing any localised form of Lyme.

What is Lyme Disease?

A tick-borne illness caused by a bacteria called Borrelia.

Lyme Disease is generally categorized into early stage and late (chronic) stages of disease, each with varying symptoms.

Early stage symptoms are characterised by flu-like symptoms

Early stage Lyme can be treated with a short course of antibiotics, but once it develops require much more serious treatment.

Late stage Lyme disease can include damage to the joints, nerves, and brain may develop months or years after infection.



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