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Lyme Disease vs Romney – Finally, the US Election Heats Up.

lyme disease mitt romney in virginia

Romney's flyers are the epitome of micro-politics, targeting a tiny number of voters in Virginia.

Sesame Street, taxes, Big Government – the Presidential debate hit on some weighty issues but Mitt Romney is counting on Lyme disease winning him the votes in Virginia it seems. Governor Romney’s first mailout in northern Virginia prey on the fears of local residents by promising to ‘get control’ of the ‘massive epidemic’ of chronic Lyme disease that is ‘wreaking havoc’ in the area. The irony is that Romney’s stance on climate change could actually make the problems worse.

Romney, Science and Creationism

Debates about the existence of chronic Lyme disease aside, using fear as an election tactic is worrisome, especially when Romney supports the use of the aggressive antibiotics that have, in some cases, actually resulted in the deaths of patients. Counting amongst his friends the creationist Michael Farris, who it is thought informed the governor about Lyme disease, Romney’s sudden interest in science is a little startling.

Lyme Disease and Legal Issues

The motivation appears to be to appeal to those physicians and patients in the area who have fallen foul of medical malpractice suits when trying to use these ‘aggressive antibiotics’ intravenously. Farris’ wife is thought to have been treated by one such doctor, Joseph Jemsek, whose licence was temporarily suspended on suspicion of improper medical practices. That Romney’s take on Lyme disease contravenes current guidelines from the Infectious Disease Society of America could win him some votes at first glance but Lyme disease patients and advocates may wish to probe a little deeper into the issue.

Climate Change and Lyme Disease

Not only does Romney ignore the information provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, his healthcare policies could seriously affect many patients suffering the ill-effects of chronic Lyme disease, post-Lyme disease syndrome, or whatever name the condition goes by on a patients’ medical records. Seeing it as pointless to try to reduce CO2 emissions, the state of Virginia looks set to warm up and play host to an increasing tick population under Romney rule. Currently, there are around a thousand cases a year of Lyme disease confirmed in Virginia by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), although they readily admit that many more cases are likely to exist that go undiagnosed or unreported. Indeed, Loudon County declared 2012 to be Lyme Disease Awareness Year.

Romney, Lyme Disease and Healthcare

Without universal healthcare and insurance many Lyme disease sufferers face challenges over access to treatment. Lyme disease could become a condition only the wealthy can afford to treat, with ordinary working class people facing increasing difficulties getting a proper diagnosis and therapy. Hard-hitting talk about spraying for bugs in Virginia is also part of Romney’s micro-targeting political strategy but the possible dangers of such acaricide use have not been thoroughly investigated, potentially creating a health epidemic down the line.

Political Pandering to Lyme Disease Patients

Romney’s sudden interest in Lyme disease in Virginia appears to be pandering of the worst sort, with short-term goals set to sacrifice the health and wellbeing of residents and Lyme disease patients in the long-term. That Romney has been bitten by the Lyme disease bug now is odd and one can only wonder what his next mailouts will target.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Tony Pisacano October 8, 2012, 1:14 am

    In NO way does Romney support creationism. Your insidious suggestion is despicable. Shame on you. And by the way the UN and the IPPC defy resonsible science. You have drunk the kool aid despite your good intentions.

  • Tim October 12, 2012, 7:04 pm

    Great informative piece. In retrospect, I’m upset by my party’s response to Romney brining the topic up at all. I was hoping it would do some good, but it has not that I can see.

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