But Lyme Disease patients have been denied treatment for decades, often told that their illness is something else (usually incurable), that is psychosomatic, hypochondria or that they are imagining their symptoms. Sometimes it is labelled M.E./Chronic fatigue syndrome - and still bracketed with psychological illness. Patients are told they cannot walk because they have the wrong thought patterns - it's "all in their head".
For years some in the patients' movement have highlighted evidence that the reason for the denial was due to a biowarfare cover-up - Lyme is a sensitive military issue. Now, finally, the British government has revealed that all Lyme blood testing is to be conducted from Porton Down, our top biological warfare facility.The article below represents the first official admission by a government that Lyme Disease is a biowarfare issue, the most relevant passage being this:
"Through RIPL, RIPD provides reference diagnostic services for dangerous pathogens including viral haemorrhagic fevers, the arbovirus group, hantaviruses, rickettsia and coxiella, anthrax, tularemia and other biothreat agents. The Lyme disease specialist unit is scheduled to be a part of RIPD from 1 April 2012. "
Here is the full article.
13 May 2012
Rare & Imported Pathogens Department
THURSDAY, 26 APRIL 2012 15:08 SUDHANVA HITS: 74
Rare & Imported Pathogens Department
The Rare & Imported Pathogens Department (RIPD), HPA Microbiology Services is located at Porton Down Salisbury and operates the Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory (RIPL), formerly known as the Special Pathogens Reference Unit (SPRU). [The latest RIPL user manual can be found here]
RIPD has 23 staff including two medical consultant microbiologists, a full-time consultant infectious disease physician, a part-time consultant virologist, a dedicated SpR on rotation from University College Hospital, London (UCLH), a part-time clinical scientist and a post-doctoral trainee clinical scientist covering diagnostic work and medical advice for the NHS and other units nationally and internationally. Three dedicated post-doctoral scientists lead specialist research programmes covering diagnostics, vaccine studies ad biosafety. Operational management and a dedicated diagnostic development unit are provided by associated units.
A key programme is the Imported Fever Service, a joint venture between RIPD and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (part of UCLH) and the Royal Liverpool Hospital’s Tropical and Infectious Diseases Unit. The department also provides strategic scientific advice and programme support to the Agency and beyond on a wide range of research topics, from vaccine design and development through evaluation of therapeutics to environmental spread of organisms and has three post-doctoral scientists covering this area. Many of the junior staff are studying for PhD or Masters degrees.
Through RIPL, RIPD provides reference diagnostic services for dangerous pathogens including viral haemorrhagic fevers, the arbovirus group, hantaviruses, rickettsia and coxiella, anthrax, tularemia and other biothreat agents. The Lyme disease specialist unit is scheduled to be a part of RIPD from 1 April 2012. RIPD is supported by an active research programme in diagnostics, disease pathogenesis, antimicrobials and antivirals, vaccines, biosafety and biocontainment. Additional resources and a dedicated operational management are currently provided by other groups in Microbiology Services at HPA Porton. RIPD leads a multi-disciplinary Bioresponse team for environmental sampling (e.g. to investigate outbreaks of anthrax or Q fever), and a research nurse working on epidemiological serosurveys. Through the specialist RIPL laboratory within the department, RIPD is a WHO collaborating laboratory for anthrax, VHF’s and arboviruses, and for biosafety. We work at all containment levels up to level 4 (the highest). All current diagnostic methods from culture, IF tests and ELISA to real time PCR are used for routine work, backed up by access to a range of research assays and developmental tests for new agents and unusual diseases (see user manual below).
The departmental staff provide specialist advice related to the management of dangerous pathogens, ranging from the clinical care and treatment through infection control and public health measures, to environmental management and decontamination of affected areas. RIPD staff serve on national and international advisory committees covering all these areas, and also including biosafety, biosecurity and bioterrorism. Between RIPD and other groups at HPA Porton there is an international training programme for dangerous pathogens and infectious diseases, and we have hosted 3 of the 5 workshops held by the G7 nations in this field. We have an active network of collaborators across Europe and the US, Asia and Africa.
RIPL hosts an environmental laboratory testing samples for a range of pathogens from potentially contaminated sites e.g anthrax from construction sites, and have the capability to handle forensic samples when required.
Departmental staff have extensive experience in working with dangerous infectious organisms, in risk assessment and management for infectious agents, and aspects of preventing contamination, environmental sampling and decontamination. This knowledge is used to advise hospital staff on how to apply these principles rationally in their setting to allow both safe and effective working in the interests of patients and carers.
Imported Fever Service
A specialist service for the diagnosis of acute fevers due to travel-related infections, providing:
· Round the clock telephone access to expert clinical and microbiological advice to support patient management, infection control and public health interventions, from referral to delivery and interpretation of final results.
· A single request process for all tests.
· 24 hour on call diagnostic service for viral haemorrhagic fevers and malaria.
· Next working day diagnostic service for a range of other acute fevers.
· Access to these services is available through local consultant microbiologists and infectious disease consultants.
The Imported Fever Service is run by the HPA in partnership with specialist tropical disease units in the NHS in Liverpool and London. The service has close links to HPA Health Protection Services and aims to provide an opportunity for better surveillance, epidemiology and evidence-based management of rare and unusual diseases in the UK.
Expert clinical and microbiological advice
On-call advice will be provided by Infectious Disease Physicians from
· the Tropical and Infectious Diseases Unit in Liverpool and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London, and
· HPA Consultant Microbiologists from Microbiology Services at Porton, Colindale, Newcastle, Bristol and Manchester.
The Imported Fever Service offers two levels of diagnostic service provision:
· an urgent on call service
· a next working day service.
The urgent on call diagnostic service offers 24 hour molecular testing for viral haemorrhagic fevers and malaria at HPA Porton. A next working day diagnostic service is offered for a comprehensive range of other acute fevers, such as dengue, chikungunya and rickettsia. The user manual has details of the samples to take and routine diagnostic tests available. Note that most tests are offered as part of a panel; the fixed charge (£120 per sample from 1 April 2012) covers the serology tests and PCR tests relevant to the travel history and clinical details provided.
To maintain the highest standards of medical confidentiality test results are issued only to identifiable hospital clinicians or general practices. Patients should approach the medical practitioner in charge of their case for their results, NOT the laboratory.
RIPD holds occasional open days for schools and may offer work experience for small numbers of suitably qualified applicants. Staff also deliver a variety of lectures nationally and internationally on unusual diseases. Please contact us for more information ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
The latest RIPL user manual can be found here