Lyme disease sufferer and former Newcastle Knights five-eighth Ryan Stig has called on politicians and doctors to “stop the arguing and start trialling treatment” for the condition in Australia.
Former Maitland resident, Mr Stig was struck down with the little-known disease about three years ago and last year underwent the same treatment Raworth sufferer Tahlia Smith is currently undergoing in Germany.
Lyme disease is a debilitating bacterial infection spread by ticks.
Many Australians who have been diagnosed with the condition have made the trek to Germany for the controversial hyperthermia treatment, but the jury is still out on whether it is a success or not.
The government refuses to fund treatment for the disease (some doctors refuse to acknowledge its existence in Australia) and Tahlia had to raise $100,000 to access the overseas treatment.
The Mercury reported on Tuesday that Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon wants the Turnbull government to reinstate the Clinical Advisory Committee formed by the previous Labor government specifically to investigate Lyme Disease.
While Tahlia’s dad Brett Smith is posting on Facebook that his daughter is showing some small signs of improvement, Mr Stig said he also made progress under the German treatment.
“Lyme disease appears to be a hidden epidemic in Australia and we’re hearing that there are quite a number of Australians travelling overseas to that one clinic in Germany for treatment,” he said.
“We really need to move things along here and get people the help they need.
“Lyme disease is obviously a problem because the waiting list in Germany is six months and predominately made up of Aussies.
“That figure alone is startling and shows the need here.”
Mr Stig said authorities seem to be spending a lot of time arguing whether Lyme disease is actually an illness.
“I wish they would stop the arguing and just trial it,” he said.
While Mr Stig is not yet 100 per cent well, he was confident of a full recovery.