Senate passes first Lyme disease bill, now to House

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HARTFORD, Conn. – A new bill to establish a Tick-Borne Disorders Advisory Committee in the office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services recently became the first Lyme disease legislation to pass the Senate.

The bill passed unanimously and is now in the House.

The Lyme Disease Foundation, a national nonprofit organizations dedicated to tick-borne disorders, lead the team of community groups who helped to craft the bill and its various versions as it moved through the Senate.

The advisory committee would be comprised of government officials in a nonvoting capacity and public members with voting rights.

Public voice. Public members would include an equal number of patients or family members of patients; representatives of tick-borne disorder voluntary organizations; scientific community members; health care providers; and representatives of state and local health departments and national organizations who represent state and local professionals.

In addition to establishing the committee, the bill also includes $50 million over five years for government research and educational tick-borne disease activities and suggests priorities for government activities.

These include developing improved tick-borne disease tests, surveillance and reporting activities, and an increased emphasis on prevention.

Lyme disease, transmitted by the bite of a black-legged “deer” tick, can cause severe heart, neurological, eye and joint problems.

Other tick-borne diseases include Master’s disease, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, tularemia, tick-borne encephalitis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and bartonella.

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