(2) what recent advice on Lyme disease his Department has received from the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens; and at what date such advice was received.
The National Expert Panel on New and Emerging Infections (NEPNEI) concluded, in November 2004, that Lyme disease was the most significant public health vector-borne disease in the United Kingdom. The Panel considered incidence and detection of disease in the UK and modes of transmission.
In 2006, the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, asked Professor Brian Duerden, the Inspector of Microbiology and an assessor member of both NEPNEI and the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP), to conduct an investigation into the use of unvalidated tests in the diagnosis of Lyme disease. His report “The use of unorthodox and unvalidated laboratory tests in the diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis and in relation to medically unexplained symptoms”, has been placed in the Library.
Since then, the Department has received regular advice on Lyme disease from Professor Duerden, the latest of which was in February 2009, confirming that the current guidance for clinicians on the detection, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease as published by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) is entirely appropriate for the management of Lyme disease in the UK. Advice was also received confirming that only validated tests that conform to the internationally agreed criteria for the diagnosis of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent for Lyme disease, should be used for the diagnosis of Lyme disease. This advice is consistent with that on the HPA’s website.
The HPA is also represented on both NEPNEI and ACDP.