Three of the region’s U.S. Senators – Connecticut’s Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal and New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand – are seeking an increase in federal funding to combat tick-borne illnesses, including Lyme disease.
In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, the senators called for the allocation of $50 million to bolster the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) efforts in addressing these illnesses, including $20 million for grants for states.
“Despite the rising incidence and costs of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses like Powassan, research into strategies for preventing, diagnosing, treating, and surveilling these diseases has historically been underfunded,” said the senators in a letter to the subcommittee.
“The CDC invests only $191 for each new Lyme disease case, despite the high health care costs endured by many individuals with Lyme and other tick-borne diseases and our health care system as a whole.”
While cases of Lyme disease occur throughout the country, it is most prevalent in the northeastern states and parts of the upper midwest – the senators’ letter stated that cases of Lyme Disease “have increased more than 300% in Northeastern states and by 250% in north-central states over the last 25 years.”
The senators were joined in their letter by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), and Edward J. Markey (D-MA).