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Delegate Comstock Recognizes May As Lyme Disease Awareness Month
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

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May Is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

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Richmond Office:
General Assembly Building
Room 407
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-1034

District Office:
PO Box 6156
McLean, VA 22106
(703) 772-7168
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Dear Friend,

This past weekend, I joined members of the community, my colleagues at the General Assembly and the National Capital Lyme Disease Association for their Loudoun Lyme Disease 5K and Fun Run in Purcellville to highlight the legislation we passed this year.

Dr. Jorge Arias, Environmental Health Supervisor of the Fairfax County Health Department, was also honored at the ceremony as an expert in vector-borne diseases. He directs the Fairfax County Disease Carrying Insects Program focusing on Lyme and West Nile virus. Dr. Arias is responsible for major contributions to the battle against Lyme disease, including educational literature for both Fairfax and Loudoun Counties.

Delegate Comstock is joined by Monte Skall, Executive Director of the National Capital Lyme Disease Association, Delegate Randy Minchew (R-10), and others at the Loudoun Lyme Disease 5K and Fun Run.

May Is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

Back in 2011, I passed a resolution to permanently designate May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Virginia. Now that the weather is getting warmer, it is important to be mindful of this vital health issue and growing epidemic.

Lyme Disease Information Disclosure Act

As you may know, during this year's session, the General Assembly passed my bill, the Lyme Disease Testing Information Disclosure Act, which is a major milestone in the fight against Lyme disease. Virginia is now the first state to require health care providers to notify anyone tested for Lyme that current laboratory testing can produce false negatives, especially in the early stage of the disease.

Passage of this legislation is important to so many of my constituents who have Lyme Disease or have someone in their life who suffers from this disease. So often, patients go untreated and undiagnosed for months and even years. When the Lyme Disease Testing Information Disclosure Act goes into effect on July 1st, we can focus on getting information about testing problems directly to patients so they can seek additional testing, if necessary, as well as appropriate treatment.

New Lyme Disease Test In Development At George Mason University

On May 6th, I joined my colleagues Delegate Hugo and Delegate Ramadan for a meeting with researchers from George Mason University's Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM) and business partner Ceres Nanoscience to learn more about a new technology that will dramatically improve detection of Lyme Disease.

Lead researcher and Mason Assistant Professor Dr. Alessandra Luchini, recently named as one of the "Brilliant 10" scientists under the age of 40 by Popular Science magazine, her team and their partners at Ceres Nanoscience have been dedicated to refining their work on a new technology called a Nanotrap that will dramatically improve detection of Lyme Disease at much earlier stages.

Dr. Chip Petricoin, Co-Director of CAPMM and Director of Science at Ceres Nanoscience explained the Nanotrap as a "vacuum cleaner for infectious disease markers", able to "identify evidence of the disease when it is 2000 times smaller" than what can be identified with current testing processes. Dr. Lance Liotta, also co-director of CAPMM and Director of Science at Ceres Nanoscience, noted that use of the Nanotrap test will "dramatically reduce the false negatives of current testing processes and lead to earlier and greatly improved treatment outcomes for those suffering from Lyme Disease."

Common Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported "vector-borne" illness in the United States. ("Vector" refers to a toxic microbe in the blood caused by a bug bite, such as a tick bite.) The Virginia Department of Health reports that there were an estimated 1,110 cases of Lyme disease in the state in 2012, up 9 percent from 2011. Cases were reported in all regions of Virginia.

Early symptoms of Lyme disease may include headache, stiff neck, fever, muscle aches and fatigue. If left untreated or if treatment is delayed, the disease can become chronic with serious, debilitating complications, such as joint pain and swelling, heart disease, neurological problems (e.g., Bell's palsy), dizziness, irritability, ADHD-like symptoms, cognitive dysfunction, muscle weakness and neuropathy.

About The National Capital Lyme Disease Association

The National Capital Lyme Disease Association (NatCapLyme) is an organization dedicated to furthering public awareness of Lyme Disease and its related co-infections, The organization has over 3,000 members, including 15 chapters throughout Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and North Carolina. For more information about Lyme disease, please feel free to contact Monte Skall at 703-821-8833 or visit the NatCapLyme website at http://www.natcaplyme.org/.

I have an open door policy and always welcome you to contact my office if you have concerns or issues you would like to discuss. You can email me at [email protected] or call our office at 703-772-7168.

We are always working to improve our outreach and communication and make sure you receive information and we receive your input. Thank you for all that you do to make this such a wonderful community and please keep in touch.



Barbara Comstock










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