Rep. Zeldin Urges VA to Develop and Increase Access to Testing and Treatment for Liver Fluke Infected Veterans | Congressman Lee Zeldin

Rep. Zeldin Urges VA to Develop and Increase Access to Testing and Treatment for Liver Fluke Infected Veterans

December 21, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) authored a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin, urging the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop standardized testing and treatment options and establish broader accessibility of care through increased study of the Liver Fluke parasite.

“I am deeply concerned about the Liver Fluke parasite that has infected so many of our nation’s veterans, especially our brave service members who were deployed to Southeastern and Eastern Asia,” Congressman Zeldin wrote. “Preliminary reports appear to have indicated these veterans are carrying the dormant parasite Platyhelminthes, commonly known as ‘liver fluke’, which in several instances has led to the contraction of very serious, life threatening health conditions such as bile duct cancer and liver disease. I strongly urge the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs to make this a top priority, developing a plan and securing funding to test all veterans whose service exposed them to ‘liver fluke’, and to do so as soon as possible.”

For signed PDF letter click here.

Full text is as follows:

Dear Secretary Shulkin,

I am deeply concerned about the Liver Fluke parasite that has infected so many of our nation’s veterans, especially our brave service members who were deployed to Southeastern and Eastern Asia. Preliminary reports appear to have indicated these veterans are carrying the dormant parasite Platyhelminthes, commonly known as “liver fluke”, which in several instances has led to the contraction of very serious, life threatening health conditions such as bile duct cancer and liver disease.

The Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), which serves the veterans of my district and the entirety of Long Island, recently conducted a first-of-its-kind study of “liver fluke” in the United States using a 50 veteran sample size. While the sample size for the study was admittedly smaller than most studies, initial results highlight a substantial need for greater study of this issue, the development of standardized treatment options, and broader accessibility of care for veterans at Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities across the country. Many veterans in my district and across the country are in need of appropriate testing and subsequent treatment.

I strongly urge the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs to make this a top priority, developing a plan and securing funding to test all veterans whose service exposed them to “liver fluke”, and to do so as soon as possible. If any member of your team has any questions or feedback on this issue, please have them contact my Senior Legislative Aide, Matthew Scott, at 202-225-3826. Thank you for your continued service on behalf of America’s heroes.

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