Lyme, other tick borne diseases are a growing problem in Upstate New York
Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-20) announced today that he is an original cosponsor of legislation designed to focus attention on issues surrounding Lyme and other tick borne diseases. H.R. 2557, the Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act of 2011, establishes an Advisory Committee to address the issue at a national level.
"This important legislation expands federal efforts concerning the prevention, education, treatment, and research activities on Lyme Disease. In meetings with constituents and health care providers across New York, this is an issue that has been repeatedly brought to my attention," said Congressman Gibson. "This bill is a vital first step in our efforts to more appropriately detect and provide care for individuals suffering from Lyme Disease and I look forward to working with my colleagues to shine a spotlight on the growing rate of Lyme disease in our country and its significant impact on many Americans."
HR. 2557 requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee to address a variety of important issues. The Committee will be charged with advising Federal agencies on priorities related to Lyme and tick borne disease issues and will be composed of scientists, representatives from government agencies, health care providers and patient representatives. The Committee is charged with ensuring that a broad spectrum of scientific and stake-holder viewpoints are represented in public health policy decisions and that information disseminated to the public and physicians is balanced. The legislation authorizes $250,000 per year.
According to the Lyme Disease Association, New York State had the highest number of reported cases of Lyme disease in the country from 1990-2008, with the number of instances of occurrence increasing each year. Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) is the sponsor of the legislation and it has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.