The American Lyme Disease Foundation (ALDF) is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that was founded as a resource for patients suffering from Lyme disease. The ALDF has a considerable impact on the public perception of Lyme disease and how government, the medical community, patients, and businesses approach the condition. Based in Connecticut, the American Lyme Disease Foundation offers educational materials for physicians and patients, as well as providing a referral service for patients to find a doctor to help diagnose and/or treat Lyme disease. The ALDF states that they are “Dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, of Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections”, and all the literature produced by the ALDF is reviewed and approved by their Scientific Advisory Board of Board of Directors.
Who’s Behind the ALDF?
There are some familiar names on the Scientific Advisory Board, including Allen Steere, who played a substantial role in the history of Lyme disease, as well as Alan G. Barbour, Stephen Barthold, and Leonard Sigal. The board has medical doctors, biology professors, microbiologists, veterinarians, entomologists, and specialists in rheumatology amongst its members lending it considerable clout in the world of Lyme disease. The Board of Directors of the ALDF also has many familiar names from Lyme disease history, including Gary P. Wormser, Eugene D. Shapiro, and Peter Krause, which will instill confidence in many but also alarm those who believe that the same old guard is still in control of disseminating information about Lyme disease.
Lyme Disease Education is the ALDF’s Priority
The ALDF prioritizes educational endeavors to help in preventing Lyme disease and to aid early intervention so as to avoid the pitfalls of treating long-term chronic Lyme disease. Tick identification, information on symptoms, diagnosis, preventative strategies, and tick-control methods are all part of the ALDF’s self-imposed remit. They also provide most of these materials in Spanish and such literature can be downloaded from their website.
The ALDF provides their information in Spanish to help educate members of the Hispanic community, largely in the tri-state area, who are often at an increased risk of exposure to Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections as many Hispanic immigrants work outdoors for much of the year. The ALDF’s physician referral service helps connect patients with doctors who are experienced in treating Lyme disease and may also be able to help advise physicians in cases where a patient lives in a non-endemic area and there is no doctor available who is familiar with Lyme disease.
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