FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. – Christina Murphy has swapped out shovels for water cans and downsized her home garden while adjusting to life with Lyme disease.
“I went from being a head gardener and taking care of acres of property, to only being able to water plants in pots,” Murphy said.
“I lived with the disease for more than a decade with out knowing my diagnosis,” she said.
In a recent study, the Centers for Disease Control found that the number of counties with high incidence of Lyme disease in the northeastern states increased more than 320 percent in nearly 20 years.
“I don’t think you can live anywhere in the state of Maryland and not know someone who is suffering from Lyme disease,” said Delegate Kathy Afzali, (R) District 4, and chairwoman of the Frederick County Legislative Delegation.
This revelation led delegates Kathy Afzali and Karen Young (D) District 3, to start prepping a bill that would fund research, encourage education and protect doctors who are treating patients with the debilitating disease.
“We want to advocate to the governor to increase funding for research and we want Maryland to be a ground breaking state in terms of what we want to solve,” Afzali said.
Afzali said increasing funding would be one of three parts of the bill. The bill would also push to change disclosure practices for patients who are being tested for the disease.
“Most people don’t know that the Lyme test is only 20 percent accurate,” Afzali said. “This means that in those early phases of Lyme disease, when a person is most vulnerable, they’re often misdiagnosed with a false negative. We want to encourage patients to seek further testing.”
The third prong of the legislation would protect doctors who are trying to help patients suffering from the disease.
Afzali said she hopes to introduce the legislation in the 2016 Maryland General Assembly.