05.04.18

STANDING AT DWYER MEMORIAL PARK, SCHUMER REVEALS: FEDS NOW HAVE NEW SURGE IN CDC FUNDS THAT CAN FIGHT TICK-BORNE DISEASES ACROSS CENTRAL NEW YORK, BUT THE DOLLARS TO TRACK, TREAT & PREVENT TICK-BORNE DISEASES COULD SIT IN LIMBO AS TICK SEASON HEATS UP; SENATOR LAUNCHES MAJOR PUSH TO UNLOCK FUNDS SO LOCALS CAN USE THEM NOW, NOT AFTER DISEASE CASES & PUBLIC ANXIETY SPIKES

While New York Is Target #1 For Ticks, CNY Has Seen An Explosion Of Ticks & Lyme Disease In Recent Years; As Weather Heats Up, Schumer & Local Public Health Officials Warn Ticks Will Multiply & Many People, Especially Kids, Could Be Stricken With Illness; But We Can And Should Do More To Head Off  Upcoming Tick Season In CNY At The Pass 

Schumer Reveals That Just-Passed Omnibus Spending Bill, Includes $900M More In CDC Dollars – Funds That CNY Deserves & Needs; Senator Makes Urgent Case For Feds To Unlock These Dollars & Swiftly Deliver Fair Share To NY 

Schumer: The Feds Need To Send In The Dollars CNY Needs To Fight The Tick War    

On the heels of a brand new and shocking Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that warns tick infections are spreading rapidly, and with temperatures across Central New York spiking into the 80’s, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today revealed the CDC can do more to actively support the all-out local war against tick-borne diseases. Specifically, Schumer detailed that the feds now possess a new surge in CDC dollars – $900M more than last year to be exact—that can be tapped to fight tick-borne diseases across the Central New York. But, Schumer warned that – without urgent action – those same dollars could sit in bureaucratic limbo just as Central New York’s tick population explodes this summer.  Specifically, Schumer is pushing to unlock some of these new federal dollars from the recently-passed bipartisan federal omnibus spending bill President Trump signed into law, so public health officials in Cortland County and across the Central New York can use them now, not after disease cases and public anxiety spikes.

“When it comes to our exploding tick-borne disease problem, Central New York has seen a sharp jump in cases of Lyme disease in recent years and would greatly benefit from an increase in federal funding, as it is necessary to head this tick season off at the pass,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “The good news here is that we have the money, thanks to the just-passed bi-partisan federal spending bill I negotiated and President Trump signed. The bad news is that under the current system, by the time these federal dollars make their way to critical communities like Central New York, the tick season could be well underway. That’s why, today, I am turning up the spotlight on the Central New York tick plight and urging the CDC to use the increase in funding we directed their way to do more to help the counties fight tick-borne diseases like Lyme, Babesia, and Powassan.”

Schumer also detailed data that shows New York remains target #1 for ticks—more so than anywhere else in America—this upcoming summer. In areas like Central New York – where cases of Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses were virtually non-existent a decade ago – communities are looking for ways to fight back against a surge in ticks. Schumer said that these efforts are critical and it is vital for the CDC to use some of its $900 million budget increase – a total of $8B - to immediately address tick-borne illnesses like Lyme that have plagued Central New York in recent years. Specifically, Schumer said the CDC must use this new funding to amplify local prevention efforts across Upstate New York. The new funding could help New York State Health Department (NYSDOH) and local health departments improve their prevention and tracking efforts.

The CDC, in a shocking announcement earlier this week, reported that the number of Americans infected with Lyme disease is likely 8-10 times higher than the number reported and that cases of tick-borne illnesses have more than tripled in the United States from 2004 to 2016, underlining the urgent need to help state and local health departments identify and treat those who become infected.  Schumer said it is critical the CDC make sure these resources are disseminated as widely as possible in high impact areas across Central New York. Schumer also called on the CDC to develop a special community education and outreach program to make sure people are aware of how they can prevent tick bites, as well as continue to expand its continuing medical education (CME) program so that health care providers are fully equipped to recognize and treat tick-borne illnesses in the emergency room or during primary care visits where initial symptoms might reveal themselves.

Schumer continued: “I want some of the newly-directed dollars given to the CDC to land here in Central New York– before ticks takeoff, not after. The bottom line is that the feds need to send the dollars Central New York needs to not just fight the tick war but to win. We need help tracking, treating and preventing tick-borne diseases, which is why I fought so hard for these additional CDC dollars in the first place.”  

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection carried by deer ticks, which can be transmitted by a bite to a human or animal host. If left untreated, the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi travels through the bloodstream, manifests itself in body tissues, and causes mild or severe symptoms, depending on the case. Lyme disease begins as a rash at the location of the tick bite and then spreads to the nervous system and joints. Early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment are crucial to recovery. With early diagnosis, Lyme disease is cured almost 100 percent of the time. The disease is most prevalent on the Upper East Coast and Midwest, especially in densely wooded areas with an aptitude for humidity.

According to data from the New York Department of Health, Lyme cases have exploded in Central New York over that past several. Trends show reported Lyme cases in the region during the eight-year period from 2008-2016 have increased over 600 percent when compared to the previous eight years. 

County

Cases 1999-2007

Cases 2008-2016

Cayuga County

10

54

Cortland County

7

80

Madison County

21

133

Onondaga County

84

707

Oswego County

19

259

Central New York Total

141

1077  


https://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/diseases/communicable/

“Cases of Lyme and tick-borne illnesses have grown exponentially in recent years, and Cortland has not been spared. We appreciate Senator Schumer’s advocacy and efforts in securing funding to address this public health threat,” City of Cortland, Mayor Brian Tobin.

“Cortland Public Health focuses our efforts on tick bite prevention and early diagnosis and treatment of disease. Further, we are not waiting to find ticks that test positive for Lyme under surveillance . We encourage prevention from any bite as if every tick is carrying disease,” said Catherine Feuerherm, Cortland County Public Health Director.

“Cooperative Extension of Cortland County is working hard to educate children in Cortland County about preventing Lyme disease through our “Tick Be Gone” program.  Currently, we plan to reach children ages 5-9, which the CDC has reported is the most prevalent age for contracting Lyme disease.  Additional funding would help us to extend this program throughout Cortland County,” said David C. Rutherford, Executive Director Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cortland County

Schumer has long pushed for federal funding for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tick-borne illnesses like Lyme and Powassan, which have seen an increase in cases across New York State. Recently, during an in-person meeting with CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, Schumer got a firm commitment from the director that he would be working to address Lyme in New York State. Additionally, Schumer played an integral role in securing new funding for the CDC in the recently passed omnibus — Schumer, one of 4 negotiators, secured $8.005 billion in the federal funding for the CDC, a $900 million increase from FY17. Schumer said this new funding that could be used to research and prevent tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease. Schumer also helped secure a historic $3 billion increase in NIH funding, which can be used to expand and build upon existing NIH-funded Lyme disease research that is already occurring at New York institutions such as Columbia University, in the SUNY system and at Hunter College.

Schumer made this push as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other tick-borne disease experts predict that this summer could be one of the worst when it comes to the population of ticks.

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