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Public Papers - 1991 - July

Proclamation 6314 -- Lyme Disease Awareness Week, 1991

1991-07-10

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

Lyme disease is a potentially debilitating bacterial infection, transmitted to humans by the bite of a very small tick, that merits the attention of all Americans. These ticks -- which frequently appear to be no larger than a freckle -- feed primarily on deer, but other hosts may include horses, dogs, cats, birds, and cattle. Although most cases are concentrated in the coastal Northeast, Wisconsin, Minnesota, northern California, and Oregon, Lyme disease has been reported in nearly all States, and the number of recorded cases has been increasing each year.

Fortunately, however, most persons with Lyme disease respond well to prompt treatment with antibiotics if the infection is detected early. Early symptoms of the disease may include a red, bull's-eye-shaped rash at the site of a tick bite, headache, fever, joint pain, and fatigue. Later symptoms may mimic those of arthritis and/or brain, nerve, and heart disease. If left untreated, Lyme disease can seriously damage the skin, joints, heart, and nervous system.

Because Lyme disease can pose a significant health threat, and because no completely reliable test for detection of the infection has been developed, prevention is very important. Hikers, outdoor workers, and other individuals who enter wooded, tick-infested areas should take precautions to avoid being bitten by the deer tick. These include staying away from long grass or brush, covering up well with light-colored slacks and long-sleeved shirts, using tick repellents, and carefully examining oneself afterwards for ticks.

In the Federal Government, physicians and scientists are working together with their colleagues and other concerned individuals in the private sector to advance research on Lyme disease and to promote public awareness of this complex and potentially dangerous infection.

In support of those efforts, the Congress, by House Joint Resolution 138, has designated the week beginning July 21, 1991, as ``Lyme Disease Awareness Week'' and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this week.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning July 21, 1991, as Lyme Disease Awareness Week. I encourage all Americans to observe this week with appropriate programs and activities to increase their knowledge of Lyme disease.

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

George Bush

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:09 a.m., July 11, 1991]

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