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Friday, 18 May 2012

Lyme Disease found in Western Australia

A Perth doctor says he believes there is clear evidence of Lyme disease occurring in WA, despite the Health Department failing to recognise it.

Hugh Derham said he had diagnosed one WA case in which the person had never left the country and he was treating a dozen more for the disease.

Dr Derham said some of his most puzzling cases had ended up being Lyme disease.

"The problem in Australia is that everyone thinks there is no Lyme disease so they never go looking for it, so there are all these people with various conditions who go undiagnosed - they are usually labelled psychiatric, quite inappropriately," he said.

Rosemary Hearle said she became ill after she was bitten by ticks on a farm south of Moora more than 30 years ago.

For 22 years she went from doctor to doctor without luck before a desperate trip to America brought a diagnosis of Lyme disease. The 70-year-old from Sorrento has lived for the past 14 years on four different antibiotics.

Ms Hearle said she would not have survived if she had not gone to the US.

She had only left WA once for a trip to Bali years before she was bitten - proof, she said, that the disease was in WA in the 1980s.

But a Health Department spokesman said there was no conclusive evidence that the disease occurred in Australia.

"The species of ticks that carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease in other countries has not been identified in Australia," the spokesman said.

However, he said the possibility that organisms capable of causing an illness similar to Lyme disease may exist in Australia had not been discounted.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection which is spread by the bite of a tick.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-...-in-wa-doctor/