THE fight to have Lyme Disease recognised as an Australian problem is gathering momentum, with a recent protest by the Australian Lyme Disease Advocacy Group held this month outside NSW Health offices in North Sydney putting the issue into the public forum. Protesters included sufferers and their families, as well as medical experts and consumer advocates. Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans by ticks and potentially other insects, and if left untreated, can cause numerous health symptoms including severe neurological damage and pain, and can be fatal. Lyme Disease often mimics other illnesses such as MS, motor neurone disease, anxiety, autism, and fibromyalgia to name a few. At present Australian governments, both State and Federal, deny that Australian ticks carry lyme disease, however according to protest organisers thousands of Australians have been bitten by a tick and then tested positive for the illness. “There have been various previous Australian research studies conducted by qualified medical professionals and animal zoological experts proving Lyme Disease exists in Australia,” a statement by the protesters said. “This research has been available as early as in the 1950s when lyme borreliosis was discovered in Australian native animals. “This study and later studies proving the existence of Lyme in Australia has been ignored by NSW Health. “Australian patients are being left to suffer, or told they are mentally unwell,” the protesters added. The protest action demanded the government recognise Lyme Disease, provide funding for research and adequate and accredited testing processes in Australia, as well as education for health care professionals on the condition.