From Kathy Afzali:
During the spring, summer, and fall when I am not in Annapolis my focus is on state issues effecting my constituents and how I can best approach and remedy challenges. Through the years I have had several friends who have had Lyme Disease. Some had the bullseye rash and other symptoms typical of Lyme and were treated in those early stages when catching the infection is the most successful. Unfortunately, there are others I have met who have not been that lucky. For those who did not get the classic early identifiers of Lyme and went without treatment or received brief but inefficient antibiotic treatment, they can get what is being called Chronic Lyme Disease.
Chronic Lyme has been extremely controversial in the past years with patients, physicians, the CDC and other medical entities differing on how exactly to cure and threat the pandemic that is rampant in Maryland.
You may have heard in the local news that I have teamed up with Delegate Karen Lewis-Young (Frederick, 3A) on building legislation to address the problem of chronic Lyme Disease in our state. After meeting with several victims of chronic Lyme and hearing what the treatment of the disease has cost them both physically and financially, I knew I had to act. Delegate Young sits on the Health and Government Operations Committee in Annapolis and is the perfect partner to help me tackle this challenge head on.
We have put together a group of approximately twenty Lyme experts, advocates, victims, and researchers to approach the issue in five key areas.
1. Advocate to the governor and our Federal Delegation to allocate a larger percentage of state research dollars and grants to Lyme Disease.
2. Propose state legislation that will hold good doctors harmless who are trying to alleviate pain and suffering to Lyme sufferers. Some doctors have been prosecuted for stepping outside of current protocols. This will be a delicate balance as we advocate for caring practitioners while not giving license to the unscrupulous.
3. Require labs to disclose to patients the inaccuracy of the initial tests for early onset of Lyme, and encourage patients to seek more thorough testing.
4. Work with University of Maryland and other research facilities on better/best practices for controlling/eradicating the Lyme tick population in Maryland.
5. Continue to improve educating the public on protecting and preventing Lyme tick bites.
As Delegate Young and I continue our efforts to remedy and help Lyme disease sufferers and their doctors I will keep you informed as to our progress.