The Ireland South MEP made the call after meeting with members of the Lyme support group Tick Talk in her Cork office.
“Certainly nobody knows more about the reality of living with Lyme Disease than the members of groups like Tick Talk so I would certainly back their call to have Lyme Disease reclassified,” she said.
“It is currently classified by both the HSE and HSPC as a skin disease. However, other research paper have described it as a multi-organ inflammatory disorder or autoimmune disorder, which sufferers feel is a far more accurate description of the condition.
“They are also deeply concerned about the current testing method for Lyme, which is the ELISA test, an examination that just checks for antibodies, and are calling for the introduction of the Western Blot test as the primary test for the condition.
“Furthermore, there is little information within recently released guidelines on how to treat the co-infections that occur with Lyme, which are a painful and reality many post-Lyme infection patients are living with.
“Current reporting criteria for the disease is also inadequate as it is exclusively linked to blood testing, and does not factor in clinical diagnoses made by treating GP’s and consultants.
“Given all this it’s pretty apparent to me that the biggest issue with Lyme Disease is lack of awareness. Awareness of the disease, it’s causes, symptoms and treatments.
“None of this is intended as scaremongering. Lyme Disease remains thankfully rare but it is a real possibility and so just as we have become aware of the dangers of the sun, while still enjoying it, I would encourage the public to make themselves aware of some of the risks that come with activities where they may be susceptible to tick bites, while not allowing that to keep them out of our parks or forests.
“I’ll be discussing the issue of Lyme Disease with our Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly, with the intention of producing a Private Members Bill on the awareness and prevention of the condition.
“Lyme Disease is a debilitating and dangerous condition and with just a little awareness we can eradicate it in Ireland.”