Lyme disease is one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in the country and one of the most difficult to diagnose. At this point experts in the medical and scientific community consider Lyme disease to be an epidemic, a public health crisis and a growing threat to the health of our communities. With new tick borne diseases and the tick population growing each year, more and more are being infected.
Annually, there are estimated to be 300,000 cases of Lyme disease nationally which means about 25,000 new cases each month. In 2015, New York was one of the 14 states which contained 95% of the confirmed cases of Lyme disease. If left untreated, the illness can develop into chronic Lyme disease, which can severely affect the nervous system, heart, muscles and joints, as well as several other vital functions.
My latest bill in the New York State Assembly (A11132) will create a study to identify the issues of widespread Lyme disease and the development of a vaccine to protect our communities from this rapidly growing illness. The goal of this bill is to help protect children and families from this horrible disease.
Our area of upstate New York is known for the many unique outdoor recreational activities that we have to offer and we must take action to reduce and eliminate the risk of Lyme disease. With summer upon us and more people spending more time outside enjoying the nice weather, we must also continue to be vigilant about the risks of ticks.