About this inquiry

At the dissolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives on 9 May 2016 for a general election on 2 July 2016, the parliamentary committees of the 44th Parliament ceased to exist. Therefore inquiries that were not completed have lapsed and submissions cannot be received.  However, information about the inquiries is still available on this website. 

Information on this committee in the 45th Parliament will be presented here as soon as it is available.    

On 12 November 2015, the Senate referred the following matter to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report:

The growing evidence of an emerging tick-borne disease that causes a Lyme‑like illness for many Australian patients.

The terms of reference are:

  1. the prevalence and geographic distribution of Lyme-like illness in Australia;
  2. methods to reduce the stigma associated with Lyme-like illness for patients, doctors and researchers;
  3. the process for diagnosis of patients with a Lyme-like illness, with a specific focus on the laboratory testing procedures and associated quality assurance processes, including recognition of accredited international laboratory testing;
  4. evidence of investments in contemporary research into Australian pathogens specifically acquired through the bite of a tick and including other potential vectors;
  5. potential investment into research to discover unique local causative agents causing a growing number of Australians debilitating illness;
  6. the signs and symptoms Australians with Lyme-like illness are enduring, and the treatment they receive from medical professionals; and
  7. any other related matters.  

Submissions should be received by 31 March 2016. The reporting date is 20 June 2016.

Past Public Hearings

20 Apr 2016: Canberra
15 Apr 2016: Brisbane
14 Apr 2016: Perth


Interim Report

Interim Report

4 May 2016

© Commonwealth of Australia 2016
ISBN 978-1-76010-434-4

View the report as a single document - (PDF 1043KB)

View the report as separate downloadable parts:

Chapter 1 - Introduction (PDF 186KB)

Terms of reference
Conduct of inquiry
Structure of interim report
Key concepts
Figure 1.1 – Global distribution of the common vectors of Borrelia bacteria known to cause Lyme disease
Related and concurrent inquiries
Overview of submissions
Table 1.1 – Geographical distribution of submissions by jurisdiction at 30 April 2016

Chapter 2 - Experience of patients and access to treatment (PDF 216KB)

Experience of sufferers of chronic debilitating symptoms
Figure 2.1 – Patient treatment pathways –Illness acquired overseas
Figure 2.2 – Patient treatment pathways from submissions – Illness acquired in Australia
Treatment for patients
Treatment for patients diagnosed with Lyme-like illness

Chapter 3 - Diagnostic testing for Lyme-like illness (PDF 443KB)

Diagnostic testing for Lyme disease
Figure 3.1 – Recommended protocol for laboratory testing of patients with suspected Lyme disease in Australia
Figure 3.2 – Two-tiered testing for Lyme disease

Chapter 4 - Next steps for further investigation (PDF 142KB)

Opportunities for research
Current research projects

Additional Comments—Senator John Madigan and Senator Zhenya Wang (PDF 39KB)

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3515
Fax: +61 2 6277 5829