THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 5, 1993
LYME DISEASE AWARENESS WEEK, 1993 AND 1994
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Lyme disease has become the most common arthropod-borne infection in the United States since it was first recognized as a clinical entity in 1975. Although most prevalent in the coastal northeastern and north central States, a significant number of cases have been reported in the Pacific Coast States, primarily northern California and Oregon.
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium that is transmitted from ticks to warm-blooded animals. The major reservoirs of infection are deer and rodents, although the ticks can be carried on dogs, cats, and occasionally birds. Persons who live near or who work in wooded areas are at risk of contracting Lyme disease. Lyme disease can develop into a chronic multisystem disorder that can elicit a wide range of symptoms and run an unpredictable course. Clinical manifestations include arthritis, neurological symptoms, heart problems, and sometimes eye inflammation, hepatitis, and severe fatigue.
Early symptoms may include one or more of the following: a rash at the site of the tick bite, headache, fever, joint pain, and fatigue. Though the disease usually responds to antibiotic treatment at this stage, in later stages it may develop into a persistent chronic infection that affects joints or the nervous system. The bacteria also may be transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to her fetus.
Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, along with their colleagues at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, are supporting dozens of research projects on Lyme disease. Along with several other components of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they are devoting considerable effort to eradicate the disease. Experts from a wide range of disciplines are focusing on improving diagnostic techniques and therapeutic strategies and on developing an effective human vaccine. Animal models of the disease have been developed that promise to hasten progress in all of these areas.
In support of these efforts, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 43, has designated the weeks beginning June 6, 1993, and June 5, 1994, as "Lyme Disease Awareness Week" and has requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this week.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the weeks of June 6, 1993, and June 5, 1994, as Lyme Disease Awareness Week. I urge all government agencies, health organizations, communications media, and private citizens to observe this week with appropriate programs and activities in order to ensure better understanding of Lyme disease.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of June, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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