Blumenthal, Ayotte, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Strengthen Lyme Disease Prevention, Education, and Research, Following Lyme Awareness Month

CDC estimates nearly 300,000 Americans contract Lyme disease annually

95% of Lyme disease cases occur in Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Vermont, Virginia, New Jersey, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin

(Washington, DC) – Today, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Kelly Ayotte (R.-N.H.) introduced legislation to increase public awareness and strengthen efforts to combat tick-borne diseases - a significant threat to public health. The Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act of 2015 would help ensure the necessary resources are dedicated to fighting tick-borne diseases.

Blumenthal said, “Now that the weather is warmer, people will be spending much more time outdoors. Unfortunately, more time outside – especially in wooded areas that are so common in my home state of Connecticut – also means more exposure to tick-borne illnesses, like Lyme disease – a pernicious and insidious public health threat. I am proud of re-introduce a measure that will address the need for a strong national effort to fight these diseases as they become more rampant in the warmer months. By making improvements to reporting methods and diagnostic tools, as well as creating a national advisory body that brings together patients, scientists, and policymakers, this legislation will make critical improvements to prevention and treatment methods.”

Ayotte said, “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, New Hampshire had the second highest incidence rate of Lyme disease in the country.  Our legislation will help address this troubling statistic by creating a strong national effort to fight this disease, which is dangerous if untreated.  Our bill would create a Tick-Borne Diseases Committee comprised of physicians, scientific experts, patients, and Lyme advocates to focus on improving reporting methods, developing better diagnostic tools, ensuring better coordination of efforts, and working to improve prevention and treatment methods related to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.”

Joining Blumenthal and Ayotte as co-sponsors are U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Bob Casey (D-Penn.).

Full text of the bill can be viewed here.