George Bush photo

Proclamation 6161—Lyme Disease Awareness Week, 1990

July 19, 1990

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Lyme disease is a complex disorder that can affect the skin, joints, nervous system, heart, and other parts of the body. Although it is easily treated when diagnosed early, Lyme disease can become very serious if it remains undetected.

The disease is caused by a bacterial infection that is transmitted to humans by the bite of a very small tick. These ticks are frequently no larger than the head of a pin. They feed primarily on deer and field mice, but other hosts include cats, dogs, birds, horses, and cattle.

Lyme disease was discovered in 1975 by a rheumatologist who found a high incidence of arthritis first in children, then in adults, living in Lyme, Connecticut, and nearby towns. Most patients lived in wooded areas, and their first symptoms appeared in the summer months. In 1981, the specific cause of the disease, the spiral-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, was identified at the National Institutes of Health by an expert scientist in tick-borne diseases.

Since its discovery in Connecticut, Lyme disease has been found in 45 States. More than 21,000 cases have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control since 1982. People who frequent wooded areas and forest edges -- such as campers, hikers, and outdoor workers -- are especially likely to come in contact with the tick that carries the disease. Early symptoms include a bull's-eye-shaped rash at the site of a tick bite, headaches, joint pain, fever, and swollen glands. Later symptoms may mimic those of arthritis and/or brain, nerve, and heart disease. If left untreated, Lyme disease can seriously damage the nervous system, heart, joints, and skin. But, in its early stages, Lyme disease is readily treated with antibiotics such as oral penicillin, erythromycin, and tetracycline.

Many governmental, scientific, and voluntary health organizations have committed themselves to promoting public awareness and understanding of Lyme disease. In support of their efforts, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 276, has designated the week beginning July 22, 1990, as "Lyme Disease Awareness Week" and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this occasion.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning July 22, 1990, as Lyme Disease Awareness Week. I urge the people of the United States as well as educational, scientific, health care, and community service organizations to observe this week with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifteenth.

Signature of George Bush


George Bush, Proclamation 6161—Lyme Disease Awareness Week, 1990 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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