Senator Richard Blumenthal joined doctors, patients and advocates to call for new measures to combat Lyme disease. This followed passage of legislation Blumenthal helped to write to strengthen Lyme prevention, education and research. After introducing bills in 2011, 2013 and 2015, similar language was incorporated into the 21st Century Cures Act and signed into law last week.
Blumenthal says he took on the matter after hearing from people across Connecticut whose lives have been devastated by Lyme. Some of their stories include children who no longer have the energy to attend school and people whose life savings have been drained seeking treatment. He says now that the 21st Century Cures Act includes language to fight Lyme, the work must begin to bring critical improvements to prevention and treatment.
Western Connecticut Health Network President and CEO Dr. John Murphy says members of the community approached the hospital about a decade ago about doing more to promote Lyme Disease prevention strategies. He says there are 400 patients on a Lyme Disease Registry.
Doctors meet with the patients to collect demographic and clinical data, as well as blood samples. They can be followed over time so doctors can understand what is happening to the genetics of Lyme, who has gotten well with antibiotics and who hasn't. Murphy says an important part of the registry is to determined what the patient's clinical outcomes can tell researchers about what's in their blood so doctors can develop more sensitive and specific diagnostics.