To date in my “Ticks” series, we have learned from leading global experts that tick-borne illnesses (including Lyme disease) are possibly the most complicated and substantial global medical research challenges that exist today and that they threaten to dominate global health care tomorrow. Solutions are tough to find since the bacteria are difficult to diagnose and treat due to the complex multi-disciplinary approach often required.
International travel, global warming and tick migration are increasing the global incidence of these diseases. In many countries, governments and doctors are not sufficiently knowledgeable about the disease. Even when doctors are reasonably informed, guidelines for treatment remain globally controversial. Ultimately, patients suffering from Lyme and associated diseases are getting sicker.
Comparisons are often made between the tick-borne disease crisis and AIDS in the 1980’s. As with AIDS, solutions to the problem require achievement of the goals of global cause awareness and robust funding for research. In the 80’s, communicating the message was all about famous celebrities, galas, street protests and traditional media. Today, thanks to technology and pioneering internet vehicles such as crowd funding, the power of the masses to bring about change is fast becoming the greatest weapon in the Lyme cause. “The number of users of social networks worldwide will increase from 1.47 billion in 2012 to 1.73 billion this year, which is forecast to rise to 2.55 billion by 2017,” explains ILADS (International Lyme And Associated Diseases Society) marketing consultant Laurie Martin. Martin has recently helped ILADS launch “The Power of Us to Bring About Change. Join the Roar,” a cutting-edge call-to-action social media campaign that emphasizes the power of people around the world unified with one voice to communicate the importance of Lyme disease awareness.