On 10 September 2018, members of the Committee for the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) unanimously adopted a resolution, which called on the EU to take action on Lyme disease.[i]
Lyme disease is believed to affect between 650,000 and 850,000 European citizens each year. It is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterial infection transmitted to humans through tick bites.
French ecologist MEP and resolution author, Michèle Rivasi, stated:
‘The idea of our resolution on Lyme disease was to have a better understanding of the number of sufferers in Europe. We therefore asked the Commission to publish “guidelines” on the matter’.
The resolution highlights that currently, ‘there is no European consensus regarding the treatment, the diagnosis and the detection of Lyme disease’.
As we reported, in edition 227 of BC Disease News (here), some long-term sufferers of Lyme disease are labelled sufferers of ‘post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome’ (PLDS) – this is a medically acknowledged condition. Others are labelled sufferers of ‘chronic Lyme disease’ (CLD), which is not a medically recognised condition. Many experts argue that the two conditions should be distinguished on this basis.
Official EU guidance could therefore provide Member States with a single method for diagnosis, detection and treatment, thereby avoiding so-called ‘therapeutic wandering’.
In addition, the resolution recommends the inclusion of Lyme disease on the EU’s list of infectious diseases. It also recommends that Lyme disease be ‘recognized as an occupational disease among farmers, foresters and other professions that work outside, such as geologists, biologists and archaeologists’.
A plenary vote on this resolution will take place from 1-4 October 2018.
[i] Cécile Barbière, ‘European Parliament warns of the dangers of Lyme disease’ (17 September 2018 EURACTIV.fr) <https://www.euractiv.com/section/health-consumers/news/le-parlement-europeen-alerte-sur-la-maladie-de-lyme/> accessed 18 September 2018.