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Lyme Disease

Question for Department of Health

UIN 38421, tabled on 25 May 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the (a) efficiency of existing diagnostic tests and (b) effectiveness of current treatments for Lyme disease.

Answered on

6 June 2016

Lyme disease is a complex infection where challenges in understanding of disease progression, and consequently diagnosis and treatment, remain.

The National Health Service and Public Health England (PHE) use well established validated diagnostic tests for Lyme disease that are highly reproducible between laboratories. International External Quality Assurance schemes are in place to ensure consistency between different test centres. Commercial manufacturers and international academic groups have research programmes into improved tests and PHE continuously reviews new Lyme serology tests and will validate and implement new tests if appropriate.

All treatment for Lyme disease within the NHS should be evidence based, and targeted at the disease mechanisms underlying those symptoms. Most cases are diagnosed in primary care and PHE has published a referral pathway for general practitioners to follow to ensure problem cases are seen by an appropriate NHS specialist.

To further strengthen the evidence base we have commissioned the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to develop a new clinical guideline on Lyme disease, for both primary and secondary care, for publication in 2018. The Department is also commissioning three Systematic Reviews by independent academic groups to cover

― diagnosis and diagnostic tests;

― treatment; and

― epidemiology/transmission routes.

Named day
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