Lyme Disease

The Australian Government is monitoring Lyme disease, in consultation with the states and territories, through the Communicable Diseases Network Australia.

Page last updated: 17 February 2014

The Australian Government Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Baggoley, has established a Clinical Advisory Committee on Lyme disease to provide him with advice on the evidence for Lyme disease in Australia, diagnostic testing, treatment and research requirements. The Committee will also provide advice on the most appropriate ways to disseminate information to health professionals and the general public.

Clinical Advisory Committee on Lyme Disease

Terms of Reference

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

  1. the extent to which there is evidence of Borrelia spp causing illness in humans in Australia
  2. the most appropriate laboratory diagnostic testing algorithms (best world practice) for persons who have suspected borreliosis in Australia
  3. the most appropriate treatments for borreliosis in Australia
  4. the most appropriate ways to disseminate information to health professionals and the general public on borreliosis/Lyme disease
  5. the requirements for further research into borreliosis in Australia, and
  6. the generation of appropriate new questions relevant to the terms of reference.

Membership

The committee has representation from the following organisations:

  • Australian Government Department of Health
  • Karl McManus Foundation
  • Lyme Disease Association of Australia
  • Public Health Laboratory Network
  • Communicable Diseases Network Australia
  • NSW Health
  • Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Australian Society for Infectious Diseases
  • An Australian and International Expert
top of page

Meeting Outcomes

Meeting 1

The Committee met on 19 March 2013 with the following outcomes:

  1. Suggested terms of reference for the Clinical Advisory Committee on Lyme disease to be re-drafted to incorporate members’ comments.
  2. A Lyme disease patient advocate to be invited to participate on the CACLD.
  3. More information regarding borreliosis in Australia is required in order to understand the requirements to resolve issues detailed in the committee’s terms of reference. Each member of the committee will be contacted out of session to discuss issues arising about borreliosis in Australia, which will assist the development of a discussion paper on Lyme borreliosis.
  4. Research requirements for borreliosis in Australia to be addressed at the next CACLD meeting.
Meeting 2

The Committee met on 28 May 2013 with the following outcomes:

  1. Terms of Reference to be re-drafted to incorporate members' comments (endorsed terms of reference above).
  2. The Committee noted the outcomes of the committee consultations (outcome 3 from previous meeting) on:
    • the existence of Lyme disease in Australia
    • the members' perspective on the diagnostic pathway for Lyme disease in Australia
    • the members' perspective on treatment options for Lyme disease in Australia.
Meeting 3

The Committee met on 3 September 2013 with the following outcomes:

  1. Members were provided with an update on the progress of the scoping study being conducted to identify the research needs for an investigation into whether a causative tick-borne microorganism for Lyme disease exists in Australia.
  2. Members received an update on current research being conducted on ticks at the Murdoch University and potential collaborations and assistance was discussed.
  3. Members discussed a diagnostic pathway in the context of recent publications comparing North American and European testing approaches. Members agreed to continue this discussion out of session.
Meeting 4

The Committee met on 27 November 2013 with the following outcomes:

  1. The scoping study for research to identify and characterise an indigenous causative microorganism for Lyme-like disease in Australia and its vector to be placed on the Department of Health’s website and comments to be invited. The study will also be provided to Chief Health Officers and the National Health and Medical Research Council.
  2. A report on the first meeting of the Diagnostic Pathway Working Group was provided to members.
  3. The Department of Health will investigate organising a Diagnostic Forum and a Clinical Round Table meeting in the first half of 2014.
  4. Members acknowledged that the work of the CACLD will extend into 2014.
top of page

Consultations

A summary of the committee consultations (outcome 3 from Meeting 1) titled CACLD Discussion Paper on Lyme Disease can be accessed below.

  • CACLD Discussion Paper on Lyme Disease (Word 76 KB)
  • CACLD Discussion Paper on Lyme Disease (PDF 149 KB)
  • Advice to Clinicians

  • CMO Advice to Clinicians on CACLD (PDF 271 KB)
  • CMO Advice to Clinicians on CACLD (Word 313 KB)
  • Scoping Study

    The Department of Health contracted an expert in microbiology to conduct a Scoping Study to identify the research needs for an investigation into whether a causative tick borne microorganism for Lyme disease exists in Australia.

    The Scoping Study can be accessed below.

  • Scoping Study (Word 207 KB)
  • Scoping Study (PDF 485 KB)
  • top of page

    Document help

    When accessing large documents (over 500 KB in size), it is recommended that the following procedure be used:

    1. Click the link with the RIGHT mouse button
    2. Choose "Save Target As.../Save Link As..." depending on your browser
    3. Select an appropriate folder on a local drive to place the downloaded file

    Attempting to open large documents within the browser window (by left-clicking) may inhibit your ability to continue browsing while the document is opening and/or lead to system problems.

    To view PDF (Portable Document Format) documents, you will need to have a PDF reader installed on your computer. A number of PDF readers are available through the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) Web Guide website.