Lawmakers call for national Lyme disease strategy

Excerpted from the Portland Press Herald  ( Posted: 07/2122012)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A  group of lawmakers is pushing for a national strategy to combat Lyme  disease aimed at speeding advances in diagnosis, treatment and  prevention of the sometimes serious illness that infects tens of  thousands of people every year.

The map released by the Yale School of Public Health in February indicates areas where people have the highest risk of contracting Lyme disease based on 2004-2007 data. Lawmakers are pushing for a national strategy to combat Lyme Disease.

click image to enlarge

This is a March 2002 file photo of a deer tick under a microscope in the entomology lab at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, R.I. Lawmakers are pushing for a national strategy to combat Lyme Disease. (AP Photo/ Victoria Arocho, File)

“The tick problem is growing. The  Lyme disease problem is growing,” said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a  cosponsor of the bill in the U.S. Senate. “This requires resources.”

The  legislation provides for the establishment of an advisory committee  made up of researchers, patient advocates and agencies, as well as the  coordination of support for developing better diagnostic tests,  surveillance, research and other efforts.

“The key with the bill  is to get everyone in the room, get all of the best available science  and then aggressively attack this hideous disease that has ruined so  many lives,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., the sponsor in the House who  has pushed similar legislation in the past.

Reed and Sen. Richard  Blumenthal, D-Conn., who introduced the Senate bill, said they hope to  pass a bill this year.

“It is essentially designed to create  awareness and understanding in public health agencies about the urgent  and immediate need to act more effectively against a disease that truly  has reached epidemic proportions,” Blumenthal said.

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~ by Rob on July 13, 2012.

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