Federal Inquiry into Biotoxin Illness

By Maree Kratzer

Member of Parliament, Lucy Wicks fell ill to biotoxin illness after a falling tree damaged her home, causing mould to grow in her home. During her recovery, she had to move at least 14 times with her family, looking for a place that she could tolerate. Last year, she called for a national inquiry into biotoxin illness with particular focus on water damaged buildings as a primary cause. In June, the Government initiated an inquiry to be carried out by the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care, and Sport. Unfortunately, there was only a little over a month allowed for submissions. However, the Committee is still accepting submissions at the time of writing. The Inquiry will report by 21st October.

Why is the outcome of this Inquiry relevant to Lyme sufferers?

Because Lyme is also a biotoxin illness. It is caused by biotoxins and inflammagens from Borrelia and Babesia species and Lyme sufferers are prone to mould illness. The damp conditions in water damaged buildings provide the perfect conditions for mould, bacteria, and parasites which also produce these inflammagens and biotoxins. Concentrations of these toxins can be extremely high in the air inside a water damaged building, adding significantly to a Lyme patient’s toxic burden. And old, dead and dried out mould is as toxic as living mould, being a source of fungal fragments that are impregnated with these toxins. Living in a water damaged building can prevent recovery from Lyme. And many have become much more unwell after some well-meaning but unaware person tries to fix the problem by killing the mould.

Download and listen to the recording of the Public Hearing.

Dr Ritchie Shoemaker on Lyme and CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome)

The symptoms of the various sources of CIRS are statistically indistinguishable. CIRS represents a final common pathway of all the pathways activated in CIRS (see Exhibit, symptoms by biotoxin illness). The impact on the body is profound as one might expect. Disability and cognitive impairment are common. Interestingly, the mystery of the common observation of “wacko” behaviour of some post-Lyme patients, often labelled as psychiatric in origin is actually due to measurable changes in brain volumes and atrophy of specific grey matter nuclei. These changes of microscopic edema and putamen atrophy seen in Lyme abate with CIRS therapies, but not with use of antibiotics. The same kind of approach can be taken to understanding symptoms based on abnormal physiology. By defining the physiology, we define the illness. Use of symptom recording is required yet compared to genomics and proteomics, symptoms relative importance approaches zero.

Read more about mould illness in our interview with Dr Ritchie Shoemaker.