U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, has joined colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advocate for a better defense against Lyme disease.
The bipartisan group of House of Representatives members wrote a public letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Eric Hargan, asking for more information on Lyme disease by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Unfortunately, the Northeast is the epicenter of the Lyme Disease epidemic with over 90 percent of confirmed Lyme disease cases being reported from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut,” Ms. Stefanik said in a public statement.
The letter asks specifically for performance indicators for Lyme disease to be included in the CDC’s 2019 Congressional Justification.
“These indicators will help Congress better understand the impacts of tick-borne disease and the effectiveness of agency programs for surveillance, prevention and control,” the letter reads.
“(And) help improve health impacts for patients … thereby reducing the burden on our economy by reducing health care and disability costs.”
The group requested the following to serve as performance indicators:
- Decrease the incidence of Lyme disease in the United States.
- Reduce the average time between onset of symptoms and diagnosis of Lyme disease.
- Increase the number of tests performed for Lyme disease that can confirm the presence of infection.
“This letter is aimed to create specific, measurable objectives to track progress as we combat Lyme Disease,” Ms. Stefanik continued. “The more we know about Lyme, the more we can do to treat patients and educate families to stop the spread of this debilitating disease.”
The participating representatives hope to “increase collaboration between (Health and Human Services) agencies and state and local health departments … Promote the development of innovative diagnostics and treatments … Increase research aimed at controlling or reducing the population of ticks and reducing their ability to transmit disease … (and) promote personal protection methods to prevent tick-borne diseases.”