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Lyme disease advocates, including Sally Jordan (in blue) join Reps. Deborah Sanderson (far left), Heather Sirocki (second from right), David Johnson (far right) and Rep. Sheryl Briggs (fourth from right) as Governor LePage signs LD 597 into law.
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For Immediate Release

Date: 06/25/13

Governor Signs Lyme Disease Awareness Bill

House Republicans join 12-year-old girl in fighting for better information

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul LePage on Tuesday signed LD 597, a bill to combat Lyme disease by providing for better patient information resources. House Republican members Rep. Deborah Sanderson of Chelsea, Rep. Heather Sirocki of Scarborough, and Rep. David Johnson of Eddington worked closely with the bill's sponsor, Rep. Sheryl Briggs of Mexico to ensure its passage.

Rep. Johnson, who suffers from Lyme disease, was one of five House Republican cosponsors of the bill. "I'm glad to see this bill signed," said Johnson. "It's going to be a big help for those who suffer from chronic Lyme disease and will ensure that Mainers get all the information they need. As a sufferer of Lyme disease, I am glad to see this bill passed and I know many who will benefit from it."

The bill requires that the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website refer to information about alternative treatment methods and that those who receive tests be informed of the high rate of false negatives, which stands at 54 percent, according to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) (see attached, page 422). Physicians will also be required to give the full test results to any patient who undergoes Lyme disease testing.

As a member of the legislature's Health and Human Services Committee, Rep. Sanderson worked closely with the bill. "This has been a tremendous education about Lyme disease and the debilitating effect it has on many Maine people," said Sanderson. "I was stunned to learn of the high rate of false negative testing and how patients are rarely informed of the inconsistency of the test's accuracy."

Instrumental in the passage of LD 597 was 12-year-old Sally Jordan, who suffers from the disease. She was misdiagnosed for several years before her parents took her to a physician out of state who correctly diagnosed her with Lyme disease. Miss Jordan testified before the Health and Human Services Committee in support of LD 597 and was in attendance to see Governor LePage sign the bill into law Tuesday afternoon.

David Sorensen
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793