Smith addressed Lyme patient's concerns at a Wall City meeting. Behind the scenes, he hopes that a new book will help get chronic Lyme recognized.

WALL – It was a sad sight, the mother of a 5-year-old with chronic Lyme disease almost asking for help because no doctor will treat her daughter.

"What can I do about this?" she asked American rep. Chris Smith, who was a desperation in the voice.

It was the tenor of Wednesday's congressional meeting on Lyme and bitch-borne diseases. More than 200 people, most of them affected by Lyme or a related disorder, came to hear Smith and his panel discussing the latest in a long-standing battle to get chronic Lyme recognized by the medical company.

"Massive numbers of people become seriously ill from ticks, and the federal response to date has been tremendously inadequate," Smith said, adding later, "Never in my 39 years of Congress have I seen such pushback."

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US Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) opens a panel discussion on Lyme – Disease research Wall Township Municipal building Wednesday May 29, 2019. (Photo: Thomas P. Costello)

Upward of 300,000 Lyme cases are diagnosed every year in the United States More than half are children, and New Jersey is one of the hot spots. For many who are diagnosed immediately, the standard months of the antibiotics alleviate the course of the disease. But detection is difficult, and for some, the symptoms continue for months or years.

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The influential infectious disease Society of America has refused to recognize chronic Lyme in its clinical practice guidelines so that sufferers are left with Finding a "Lyme-friendly" doctor, which is not easy.


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"I can't tell you how many times I've hit my head against a wall about this," Smith said, quoting a litany of bills he sponsored who went nowhere because of what he calls the "midwife association" of insurance companies and their bedfellows in Congress.

Now, lymphologists have a new weapon – an explosive book claiming that the epidemic of an American biological war effort had gone wrong – and Smith, a republican whose districts extend over parts of Monmouth, Ocean and Mercer counties appeal to President Donald Trump for action.

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& # 39; A Shocking Reading & # 39;

The book is "Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons" by Stanford University-based science writer Kris Newby. A chronic Lyme suffers itself, Newby documents how the US military infected fleets with complex, difficult to detect pathogens in the 1960s. The book's linchpin is an interview with the late scientist Willy Burgdorfer, who infected and referred to an unintentional release of armed fleets that could have ignited all this.

The relationship between the trials and the continued denial of chronic Lyme is something Smith would like to see further explored.

"If this (book) is true – and the documentation is very convincing – we made bio-weapons work that was grossly immoral," Smith said in an interview with Asbury Park Press before Wednesday's city council. "It's a shocking reading and I hope it adds to our push. Looking at what happened can help us come up with how we handle it now."

He wrote a letter in that regard to President Trump and three inspectors in general – of the Defense Ministry, Domestic Security and Agriculture – serious and comprehensive investigation "in the book's claims." "We owe it to the overwhelming number of patients suffering from the Lyme disease," Smith wrote in the letter dated 14. May." These individuals – and the American public – deserve to know the truth. "

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Although he has not received a formal reply, Smith said that his appeal became aware of members of Trump's inner circle If Congress does not want to act on its two-party bill (HR 220) to prevent research funding – currently a $ 11 million low for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $ 28 million for the National Institutes of Health – he would like to nudge the US Congressman , Chris Smith (R-NJ), opens a panel discussion on Lyme Disease Research held at Wall Township Municipal Building on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Behind him is Wall Township Mayor Kevin P Orender. "Width =" 540 "data-mycapture-src = "mycapture-sm-src =" https: / data-mycapture-sm-src = "https: / / a77-SMITHLYMEDISEASE0529B.jpg? width = 500 & height = 333 "/> Buy photo

US Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) opens a panel discussion on Lyme disease research held in Wall Township Municipal Building on Wednesday 29 May 2019. Behind him is Wall Township Mayor Kevin P. Orender. (Photo: Thomas P. Costello)

& # 39; No one helps them & # 39;

The drawing for change is there. A federal working group that includes Wall resident and leading Lyme lawyer Pat Smith, gave Congress a report last year loaded with recommendations, most urgently, how to strengthen the testing process. It also includes patient histories, as for an air force pilot who may have been taken out of service by Lyme.

"It shows that these patients really had a problem and still do it because no one helps them," said Pat Smith, sitting on Wednesday's panel. She was joined by Ben Beard of CDC and Richard Horowitz, a Lyme-friendly physician based in New York. Beard said the CDC is studying the relationship between tick bite and red meat allergies, a prominent concern among Lyme lawyers.

Chris Smith talked about his own daughter, a mother of three and an avid runner who fell ill with chronic Lyme five years ago.

"She had brain fog and her joint hurt," he said. "She couldn't get out of bed."

He looks at evidence in the book "Bitten" and in the 105-page federal working group report and sees fresh ammunition in the battle to recognize chronic Lyme. 19659097] "Just follow the science," he said. "People get sick."

Jerry Carino is the news columnist for Asbury Park Press focusing on Jersey Shore's interesting people, inspirational stories and urgent questions. Contact him at

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