There’s always another $187,000 for the Lyme loonies

Still looking for ways to throw hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars down the drain to appease the pseudo-scientific local GOP claque that believes Lyme disease is an “epidemic” (it is not) and a “chronic” ailment (it is not) requiring “special” treatment by practitioners whom the medical establishment regards as dangerous quacks (they are), your all-Republican Board of Supervisors was at it again last week, tossing around the idea of spending $187,000 to hire a full-time county employee for two years to direct the pseudo-scientific and useless spraying of dangerous and useless pesticides on county parks. Hooray!

The one scientifically knowledgeable person in this whole ludicrous and insane business has been the county’s public health officer, Dr. Goodfriend, who noted in his comments to the Board last week that spraying parks is rather pointless in trying to reduce the transmission of Lyme disease since “most people get it on their own property.” This comment was met by absolute, goofy silence from our elected officials who already voted earlier this year to spend $50,000 a year hosing down the parks with chemical pesticides.

(Supervisor Ken “Ken” Reid, after all, showing his keen understanding of entomology, pledged during the election last year to “spearhead” a campaign to “wipe out” ticks in Loudoun County.)

The Board decided to defer a decision on hiring the new employee until next year’s budget deliberations that will begin shortly. This is the same Board, you will recall, that last year axed $200,000 from the budget and eliminated the Loudoun Drug Court (ineffective, they declared) as well as all funding for the arts and urban horticulture (not a core function of government, they said). But when it comes to pointless, counter-productive, and ludicrous spending to make Mike Farris and Co. happy, the sky is apparently the limit.

Here’s a small request: How about at least having the basic intellectual honesty to remove the factually incorrect statements about Lyme disease that the Board allowed the Lyme loonies to write into the resolution they adopted earlier this year that is the master plan for all this craziness?

One mythical “fact” that the Lyme loonies keep repeating over and over as part of their campaign to whip up hysteria — even though it has been repeatedly shown to be a total fabrication  — is this statement, adopted by your elected officials last spring:

“The CDC estimates that only 10% of Lyme disease cases are actually reported”

In fact the Centers for Disease Control has repeatedly stated that

(a) There is no scientific basis for asserting that only 10% of cases are actually reported; and

(b) The CDC has never asserted, estimated, said, uttered, or hinted any such thing.

Here is what a CDC spokesperson recently said on the matter:

“There is no scientific basis for applying a 10x multiplier to the total number of cases currently reported to CDC,” says an agency spokeswoman.

So how’s about it, Board? Even if you believe the pseudo-scientific nonsense coming from evolution-denier Farris, it is a flat-out lie to attribute this pseudo-science to the authority of the CDC.

Or do you, like GOP hero Karl Rove, believe you can just create your “own reality,” not just about science but about the most basic factual matters of who said what?

The far more serious problem of this scientific malpractice is that the Loudoun County Republicans, egged on by these loonie activists, are abetting a genuine epidemic of medical malpractice and misdiagnosis: people with serious diseases like multiple sclerosis and ALS are being “treated” for Lyme instead of what they really have, and many are being encouraged to undergo dangerous long-term antibiotic “therapy” (which is also making some practitioners very rich). Here is what the lead author of the accepted scientific guidelines for treating Lyme disease recently told Mother Jones magazine about the dangerous politicization of the whole business by the activists like Farris:

“I’ve worked in AIDS and other infectious diseases,” says Dr. Gary Wormser, lead author of the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s 2006 guidelines on Lyme. “I’ve never seen anything like Lyme disease.”

Real doctors like Wormser also note that patients are being

egged on by activists like Farris, are self-diagnosing and then seeking out sympathetic doctors who are more than happy to confirm their suspicions. “I’ve seen autism being treated as Lyme disease, ALS patients have been treated as Lyme disease, MS patients have been treated as Lyme disease,” Wormser says.

So we can add the Loudoun County all-Republican Board of Supervisors to the eggers-on now.

PS here’s what “Dr.” “Chancellor” Farris also told the magazine: “I believe that the people who believe in evolution don’t know science,” Farris says.

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