A bill calling for official recognition of two types of treatment for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, sponsored by Texas State Senator Chris Harris R-Arlington)* – a chronic Lyme survivor – was passed by both houses of the Texas legislature on May 26 and sent to the governor.
The bill – SB 1360 – notes that the number of Lyme and related tick-borne diseases has continued to increase in Texas. “However,” says Sen Harris, “many Texas medical practitioners are unfamiliar with the symptoms and treatments. SB 1360 will assist doctors in recognizing these symptoms and treatments through Continued Medical Education courses.”
“There are two types of recognized standards of care for treating Lyme disease: the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS),” he explains. “With most Texas doctors using IDSA treatment [short-term antiobiotic treatment only], patients who prefer the ILADS treatment [extended antibiotic treatment for persistent or chronic Lyme] are forced to leave Texas to receive the long-term antibiotic treatment.”
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“As a Lyme disease survivor,” says Sen Harris, “I know how important the correct treatment can be. This bill is a vital step forward in properly treating those who have this disease.”
Sen. Harris says he was severely affected by the disease, but “got a lucky break.” His doctor, constrained by a disciplinary board that limited antibiotic use for tick-borne illness to 1 month or less, arranged for 17 physicians to take turns writing prescriptions for Sen. Harris’s treatment.
The bill also states that in the event a physician or nurse is investigated regarding their choice of clinical care, their participation in these courses will be considered.
* Senator Harris represents Senate District 9 covering portions of Dallas, Denton & Tarrant Counties
Sources: Office of Senator Chris Harris, press release May 11, 2011; TX Senate Bill 13 60; Texas Star-Telegram news, May 6, 2011.