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SCR-80 Lyme Disease Awareness Month.(2009-2010)

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Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 80

Relative to Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

[ Filed with Secretary of State  May 24, 2010. ]


SCR 80, Wolk. Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
This measure would proclaim the month of May 2010 as Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, Lyme disease is an often-misunderstood illness that can cause serious health problems if it is not caught early and properly treated; and
WHEREAS, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi and is primarily transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. The disease was first identified in North America in the 1970s in Lyme, Connecticut, for which it was named, and since that time, the disease has since been found in all 50 of the United States. The reach of Lyme disease is global, having been reported in more than 50 countries on six continents and several islands; and
WHEREAS, Lyme disease is a complex, multisystem illness. Early signs of infection may include rash and flu-like symptoms, including fever, muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. Usually, the disease responds well to prompt treatment with appropriate antibiotics. If untreated or inadequately treated, however, Lyme disease can invade multiple organs of the body, including the brain and nervous system. In those instances, patients can become increasingly disabled over time, suffering crippling muscle and joint pain, neurological impairment, psychological disorders, and a host of other symptoms that can lead to financial hardship, job loss, broken families, increased numbers of people on disability or welfare, and even death; and
WHEREAS, Since there is no reliable form of testing that can accurately pinpoint Lyme disease, getting a proper diagnosis and prompt treatment is often extremely difficult; and
WHEREAS, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics, an average of 22,000 new cases of Lyme disease are reported in the United States each year. The
CDC, however, estimates that more than 90 percent of Lyme disease cases are not reported, suggesting a total of approximately 220,000 cases a year. This total is about five times the number of new AIDS cases per year. Up to 40 percent of Lyme disease cases result in long-term health problems, suggesting approximately 88,000 patients annually; and
WHEREAS, Ticks have three life stages: larval, nymphal, and adult, and both nymphs and adults can transmit diseases to humans. Ticks attach themselves to host animals such as deer, rodents, and birds, and as the host animals migrate to new areas, so do the ticks. Most people who contract Lyme disease get it from the bite of a nymphal tick and because nymphs are as small as poppy seeds and their bite is painless, many people do not notice or remove them. The longer a tick is attached to the body, the more likely it will transmit whatever diseases it carries; and
WHEREAS, In California, the Lyme disease bacterium is transmitted by the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus). Ticks are active year round, especially when it is wet; thus, this tick is most common in the coastal regions and along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada range, but has been found in 56 of California’s 58 counties; and
WHEREAS, In some areas of California, Lyme disease infection rates of nymphal ticks have been found to be as high as 42 percent; thus, the infection rate in certain regions of California is among the highest in the entire United States. However, since some areas of the state have not been tested for tick infection, the true scope of the problem is not known; and
WHEREAS, Although Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne infection in the United States, the ticks that spread Lyme disease can also spread other diseases at the same time. Among these coinfections are diseases such as babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. The presence of coinfections can complicate the treatment of Lyme disease; and
WHEREAS, Recently, three new borrelial species belonging to the Lyme disease spirochetal complex have been described, thus increasing the number of these bacteria known to occur in California to five and making California the locus of more distinct borrelia species than any other geographical region in the United States; and
WHEREAS, The Legislature finds that this disease presents a health threat to Californians; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly thereof concurring, That the Legislature hereby proclaims the month of May 2010 as Lyme Disease Awareness Month; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.