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Public Statements

Bringing Focus to Tick-Borne Diseases

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. GIBSON. Mr. Speaker, over the last district work period, my colleague Paul Tonko and I hosted a conference to bring focus to better prevention, testing, treatment, and insurance coverage for victims of Lyme and associated tick-borne diseases.

This conference was constituent-driven. Over the past couple of years, I've heard from hundreds of constituents who were suffering from Lyme or who had family members of close friends suffering from this disease. Two of these constituents took the lead and organized this conference, Christina Fisk and Holly Ahern. They did a terrific job.

We had a dynamic keynote speaker, experts on the scope and the economic burden of Lyme, and a very encouraging presentation by Dr. Horowitz on a new approach for the diagnosis and treatment that identifies co-infections and other environmental hazards as the cause for chronic Lyme symptoms.

This approach could potentially unite the medical community, presently divided over whether chronic Lyme exists. We also received briefings on supporting doctors who treat chronic Lyme patients, protecting the blood supply, new approaches to testing, and a dynamic summary by Dr. Leigner, which provides a comprehensive roadmap for the way ahead.

Last year, I was proud to support an $8.75 million increase for the better testing and reporting of Lyme, but much more needs to be done. I am submitting for the Record our conference materials, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on this vital public health issue.

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