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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Sens. Schumer, Gillibrand help secure funding to combat Lyme Disease

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U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced that $16 million in federal funding has been secured to combat Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.

The funding, a $2 million increase over last year, was included in the recently passed bipartisan government funding package. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding will be used to target vector-borne pathogens that cause diseases in humans. It will go to initiatives that contribute to a better understanding of when, where, and how people become exposed to vector-borne pathogens, as well as boost prevention efforts and mitigate potential consequences of infection.

Further, Schumer and Gillibrand helped deliver $5 million in new funding for the Kay Hagan Tick Act to require the CDC to enhance surveillance of Lyme and tick-borne diseases and fund the Centers of Excellence.

“Upstate New York has felt the brutal bite of Lyme disease and tick-borne diseases for years now, and thankfully this sorely-needed increase in CDC funding and the Kay Hagan Tick Act will provide the resources needed to strike back,” Schumer said. “New Yorkers and their children shouldn’t have to worry that spending time in their backyards will leave them with a debilitating ailment like Lyme disease, and this funding will help prevent that. I was proud to lead the charge in securing the crucial funding to combat the spread of tick-borne diseases throughout New York and will keep fighting until we can stamp out these pernicious diseases.”

The senators also announced that the Department of Defense’s Tick Borne Disease Research Program will remain funded at $7 million.

“Upstate New York is a hotspot for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, and this funding increase will deliver vital resources for our state to combat them,” Gillibrand said. “New Yorkers have felt the impact of tick-borne illness for years. We need to step up our investments in research, surveillance, prevention, and outbreak response to protect our communities. Thankfully, New York institutions — including Stony Brook, Columbia University, Hunter College, and others in the SUNY system — are at the forefront of this battle. I’m proud to deliver this critical funding for our work to prevent Americans from suffering from the often-devastating and life-altering impacts of tick-borne illness.”

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection carried by deer ticks, transmitted through a bite to a human or animal. If left untreated, the bacterium travels through the bloodstream, manifests itself in body tissues, and causes mild or severe symptoms. Lyme disease begins as a rash at the location of the tick bite and then spreads to the nervous system and joints.