Schumer Proposes Increased Funding For Lyme Disease Prevention

The U.S. Senate has passed an amendment proposed by Senator Charles E. Schumer, D-NY, to the upcoming Health and Human Services appropriations bill to increase by 12.15 percent 2019 funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

Specifically, the bill increases Lyme disease funding from 2018’s level of $10.7 million to $12 million for 2019.

Schumer said the increase in funding from the CDC will specifically be used to target vector-borne pathogens which cause diseases in human beings. The funding increase will help understand when, where, and how people become exposed to vector-borne pathogens, as well as help to prevent exposure to vector-borne pathogens and mitigate potential consequences of infection. Additionally, the funding will be used to help implement vector-borne disease diagnostics, surveillance, control, and prevention programs.

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. Appropriate antibiotic use in the early stages of Lyme disease typically results in a swift and total recovery. Untreated and undiagnosed Lyme disease – which regularly occurs – can lead to debilitating effects on a person’s health.