As residents of Northern Virginia, many of us know first-hand the devastating effects of Lyme disease in our community. As we continue into the summer months the potential to be exposed to this debilitating disease increases. I encourage you to learn how you can limit your exposure to ticks.
For important information on how best to prevent contracting Lyme Disease, visit:
· The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Lyme Disease Prevention site
· The Virginia Department of Health’s Lyme Disease Fact Sheet
· The National Capital Lyme Disease Association Page
· Fairfax County Ticks and Lyme Disease Prevention Page
· Prince William County Ticks Site
If you suspect that you may have contracted Lyme Disease, do not hesitate to seek medical assistance. The longer the disease goes untreated, the greater the repercussions on a patient’s body and well-being.
In 2011, I co-sponsored HJR 643, which designates every May as “Lyme Disease Awareness Month” in Virginia. This designation, along with other publicity, has brought more awareness to the disease.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the painless bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Statistics show only a quarter of patients with Lyme disease remember a tick bite.
Traditional antibody testing for the disease, which is the most popular method, can produce false negatives and can be unreliable because most people have not yet developed the antibody response that the test measures in the first four to six weeks. To better protect Virginians, I co-sponsored HB 1933, the Lyme Disease Testing Information Disclosure Act of 2013, which requires health care providers to notify anyone tested for Lyme of the risk of false negatives.
Additionally, I supported $250,000 in funding for a ground-breaking new Lyme disease test developed by George Mason University (GMU). GMU’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM) received $250,000 to accelerate the rollout of the Nanotrap® based Lyme Antigen Test. The two locations where you can receive this test are below:
Again, as we continue into the summer months, I encourage you to learn more about Lyme Disease and if you spend time outdoors be sure to check yourself and your family members for ticks.