12.08.16

SCHUMER: JUST-PASSED SENATE BILL WILL REVAMP LYME DISEASE RESEARCH, VACCINE DEVELOPMENT AND TREATMENT STRATEGIES FOR TICK-BORNE DISEASES; SCHUMER HAS LONG PUSHED TO ENHANCE PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS’ ABILITY TO STOP THE SPREAD OF THIS HORRIBLE DISEASE

Schumer Says Lyme Disease Cases Increase Every Summer, Particularly in NY; Senate’s “21st Century Cures Act” Will Prioritize Research, Treatment & Vaccine Development – Bill is Now Headed To President’s Desk

Schumer: “21st Century Cures Act” Will Energize the Fight Against Lyme Disease

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that the Senate’s recently passed 21st Century Cures Act provides will prioritize the research, vaccine development and treatment strategies to help stamp out tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease. Schumer has long pushed for federal funding for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme, which sees an increase in cases across New York State nearly every season. Schumer said it’s time the federal government got more engaged in the fight against tick-borne diseases; the bill is now headed to the President’s desk to be signed. 

“Lyme diseases is an increasing threat across New York State, and more must be done to stamp out this epidemic. This legislation aims to do just that, by enhancing and improving our prevention, education, treatment and vaccine development efforts,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “We have to bring Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses out of the weeds and so residents can enjoy their own backyards without fearing for the health and safety of their children and families. This bill takes the critical first step and I will not stop pushing until it bears the President’s signature.”

Schumer explained that the Cures Act will continue to methods for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases, including Lyme. In addition, the bill will establish a working group to make recommendations on existing programs and research and to prepare a report summarizing these recommendations as well as current federal research efforts related to Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. Ultimately, the bill aims to research, identify and treat the disease as well as launch a national response to significantly enhance the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) ability to stop the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

Specifically, Schumer said, under this bill, HHS must coordinate federal activities related to tick-borne diseases and conduct or support activities related to tick-borne diseases, including:

·         Surveillance,

·         Research on strategies for the control of ticks,

·         Exploring causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tick-borne diseases,

·         Epidemiological research, and

·         Determining the gaps in existing research.

Lyme disease, though curable if it is detected in its early stages, is difficult to diagnose, as its symptoms are similar to the common flu. The “bull's eye” rash that accompanies infection of the disease at the site of the tick bite often goes undetected especially on darker skin tones. Most cases can be treated with antibiotics when detected early, however, in the event the antibiotics do not work there is no real agreement among medical authorities and institutions over how the illness should be treated. While Lyme can be treated effectively with antibiotics if caught early, some patients suffer lingering, debilitating symptoms. That is why Schumer has long fought to raise public awareness about the dangers of Lyme disease and identify new treatment methods.

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