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December 2017
POLICY & ADVOCACY
HHS Tick-borne Disease Working Group

IDSA President Paul Auwaerter, MD, FIDSA gave an invited presentation at the first meeting of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Tick-borne Disease Working Group this month in Washington, DC. This Working Group was created by the 21st Century Cures legislation to review current federal government efforts to combat tick-borne diseases, promote interagency collaboration, identify gaps in federal activities, and make recommendations.

Lyme disease advocates were strong proponents of this working group and are well represented on the panel. The meeting included presentations from several Lyme disease patient groups as well as public comment from many individual patients who have had significant medical issues.

Dr. Auwaerter’s presentation recommended greater federal investment in surveillance and prevention efforts (including development and utilization of a Lyme vaccine), improved diagnostics, and research to guide optimal interventions. Dr. Auwaerter spoke to key controversies regarding Lyme disease and treatment from an evidence-based foundation.

The Working Group has developed six subcommittees to focus on: surveillance, diagnostics, treatment, research, non-Lyme tick-borne diseases, and access to care. IDSA plans to recommend experts from our membership to serve on some of these subcommittees. The Working Group hopes to find areas of common ground among the various stakeholders and to develop report with recommendations by December of next year.

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