North Country senator says state budget includes funding to combat Lyme disease
Friday, April 13, 2018 - 6:39 am

State Sen. Patty Ritchie says the new state budget includes $1 million, more than double the amount in last year’s budget, to combat Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in New York State.

The funding will help increase research, education and prevention tactics.

Lyme disease is a bacteria-caused condition, which is spread by ticks. According to the state Department of Health, there have been nearly 75,000 cases of Lyme disease confirmed in New York State since 2000, and about 300 new cases are reported annually in Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties.

“Now that spring is here, this investment into tackling these tick-borne diseases is more important than ever,” said Senator Ritchie, who serves as a member of the Senate’s Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases. “This funding, along with a number of bills I have cosponsored can go a long way in helping New Yorkers understand more about the dangers of ticks and how to keep themselves safe.”

Recently, Senator Ritchie cosponsored the following measures—all of which have passed the Senate—to help stop the spread of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, as well as improve treatment for those affected by them:

· Senate Bill (S2168) helps to address the issue of a lack of insurance coverage for those diagnosed with Lyme disease. The bill requires the State Health Care Quality and Cost Containment Commission to meet annually and submit a report on the impact of providing coverage for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

· Senate Bill (S2588) provides homeowners with important information on the best way to safeguard their property from ticks. It directs the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation to develop guidelines for best practices in treating residential properties to reduce exposure to ticks.

· Senate Bill (S2621) helps to ensure medical professionals receive the proper training to treat those who have contracted Lyme or other tick-borne disease. It authorizes the Department of Health to award grants for graduate medical education in Lyme and tick-borne diseases, designate organizations as centers of excellence for Lyme and tick-borne diseases, and designate Lyme and tick-borne-disease resource centers.

In addition, Senator Ritchie has worked with local school districts to provide prevention and protection information on Lyme and EEE, another insect-borne disease, to more than 150,000 Central and Northern New York families.