Spirochates like Borrelia has been identified in Australia since 1959 when it was discovered in Bandicoots and Kangaroo; then again in 1962 when it was identified in a rat.
Lyme-like illness has been described in Australia since the 1980’s but the causative agent is not known. There is some evidence that it may be Borrelia species. Borreliosis (Lyme disease, Lyme borreliosis or relapsing fever) in Australia is difficult to diagnose not only due to non-specificity of symptoms, but also poor diagnostics. The infectious process is also complicated by the genetic biodiversity of Borrelia and multiple co-infections delivered by the tick bite.
Multiple names have been used to describe this infectious process. This includes Lyme disease, Lyme borreliosis, neuroborreliosis, Bannwarth syndrome, Baggio- Yoshinari syndrome, relapsing fever, relapsing fever borreliosis and multiple systemic infectious disease state (MSIDS). Lyme-like illness has also been used based on clinical observations only.
Due to the varied and complex nature of this infectious process, it is often not recognized and misdiagnosed, not only in Australia but in other countries around the world. This is a huge barrier that needs to be overcome.
The mission of the Karl McManus Foundation is to contribute to world knowledge and to improve understanding of Australia’s tick borne diseases including, borreliosis (Lyme disease, Lyme Borreliosis, relapsing fever or Reptilian Borrelia), Babesia, Bartonella, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and other tickborne diseases by:
- Raising awareness.
- Facilitating research – a primary focus is to fund research to identify the causative agent(s) of Australian tick borne diseases and detection and treatment.
- Advocating for better testing and treatment.
- Ensuring translation of Australian and international evidence-based medical research into Australian policy and practice.
- Educating doctors and other health professionals.
- Alerting and educating the public especially on the prevention of tick bites.
- Encouraging differential diagnosis of chronic diseases that borreliosis (Lyme disease, Lyme Borreliosis or relapsing fever) and co-infections can imitate, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease (MND) (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Charcot Disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease), multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).