KMF - Part of the Govt Advisory Body on Lyme Disease

Members of the Clinical Advisory Committee on Lyme Disease (CACLD) at Scarborough House Canberra, 19 Mar 2013. L to R: Dr Armin Schwarzbach, Dr Mualla McManus and Dr Ann Mitrovic

Government Advisory Body – KMF representation to the Australian Department of Health

The Karl McManus Foundation (KMF) met with the Chief Medical Officer of Australia, Professor Chris Baggoley, in November 2012. Following this meeting, a Clinical Advisory Committee was formed to provide Professor Baggoley with advice on the evidence of Lyme borreliosis in Australia.

  • This Clinical Advisory Committee on Lyme Disease (CACLD) includes:
  • Australian Government Department of Health
  • Karl McManus Foundation – Three directors of KMF
  • Public Health Laboratory Network
  • Communicable Diseases Network Australia
  • NSW Health
  • Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • Ldaa
  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Australian Society for Infectious Diseases
  • An Australian and International Expert

The CACLD held its first meeting on 19 March 2013, the first of five to date.

The Terms of Reference for the CACLD can be viewed at the Australian Department of Health’s website.

The purpose of the CACLD is to provide advice to the Chief Medical Officer of Australia on:

  • Evidence of Borrelia species causing illness in humans in Australia.
  • Appropriate laboratory diagnostic testing algorithms (best world practice) for persons who have suspected borreliosis in Australia.
  • Appropriate treatments for borreliosis in Australia.
  • Ways to disseminate information to health professionals and the general public on borreliosis/Lyme disease.
  • Research requirements into borreliosis in Australia
  • Other questions relevant to the terms of reference

Click here for outcomes of the CACLD meetings.

The KMF’s directors have been active in contributing to the evidence of Borrelia in Australia, and alerting health authorities/government to the urgency of resolving this issue that was first raised in the 1990s.

Diagnostic Pathway Working Group

The KMF is also represented on the CACLD’s Diagnostic Pathway Working Group formed in September 2013, which is working to resolve the inadequacy of Borrelia testing in Australia. The KMF has contributed documents supporting the prolonged IgM response in chronic borreliosis and the immunological basis behind this observation. Currently, USA Centre for Diseases (CDC) considers a prolonged IgM response as a false positive.

August 2014 – Final Progress Report

The last official CACLD progress report against each term of reference can be viewed. CMO Professor Chris Baggoley outlines the way forward for the Department of Health in its continued involvement to progress the work of the CACLD. Advice provided by the CACLD, recommendations from the Scoping Study and outcomes from the Lyme Disease Round Table Meeting have resulted in a list of potential research projects that would assist in clarifying the Australian Lyme disease-like syndrome. View consolidated list of research projects.

July 2014 – Last official CACLD meeting and response to scoping study

The last official CACLD meeting was held on 15 July 2014 but members and Department of Health will continue to address the issues. This meeting included the Health Department’s response to the Scoping Study and identified 12 gaps in current knowledge and recommended five research programmes, two of which are clinically based, to address these gaps. View response to scoping study.

July 2014 – Media Statement

In July 2014, the Australian Department of Health released a public statement on Lyme disease in order to resolve inconsistencies surrounding this issue.
Read statement here.

May 2014 – Round Table Meeting

The Department of Health hosted a Lyme Disease Treatment Round Table meeting on 27 May 2014. Participants included members of the CACLD, general practitioners and representatives from relevant medical colleges. The meeting discussed ways to address the symptomatology and treatment of Lyme disease, including neuroborreliosis. The outcomes from the meeting can be read here.

May 2014 – Pathologist Meeting

Dr Stephen Graves (director of microbiology, Hunter Area Pathology Service), Associate Professor Bernie Hudson (clinical microbiologist and infectious diseases physician at North Shore Hospital, NSW) and Jennie Burke (Australian Biologics Testing Services, Sydney) met with Professor Chris Baggoley and Dr Gary Lum to discuss diagnostics.

September 2013 – Scoping Study

Professor John Mackenzie, a prominent Australian microbiologist, was commissioned to conduct a scoping study as to how the Lyme disease issues in Australia can be addressed. The Scoping Study to Develop a Research Project(s) to Investigate the Presence or Absence of Lyme Disease in Australia, can be viewed here.

The study covers key issues such as evidence, research that needs to be undertaken to provide DNA evidence of Borrelia in Australian ticks and reservoir animals, diagnostic options available for Australia and clinical trials that can help to address the treatment of Australian Lyme-like illness.

Ausgust 2013 – Chief Medical Officer’s Advice to Clinicians

Professor Baggoley has distributed advice to Australian medical colleges to alert clinicians to consideration of borreliosis (Lyme disease) as part of their differential diagnosis.

Research is urgently needed to resolve the treatment and diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis in Australia. The organisations in Australia which fund research include the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council. The KMF is committed to funding tick borne disease research, focusing on borreliosis, babesiosis and bartonellosis, and currently funds research at the Tick-Borne Diseases Unit at the University of Sydney. All donations to the Foundation go to tick borne disease research.