Lawmakers push for Lyme disease research as tick population rises

“I hope people now understand how serious an infectious agent can be. And I know we have classified COVID-19 as a pandemic, but we are heading towards a pandemic with Lyme disease,” said Eva Sapi, Lyme disease researcher at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. “It’s enormous.”

Federal call for funding

Congress allocated a record $ 91 million for Lyme disease research in 2021, and lawmakers and advocates are hoping for more this year.

Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Tina Smith, D-Minn., Led a panel of 12 senators urging the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations subcommittee to prioritize funding for research and prevention of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases in the Fiscal Year 2022 spending bill.

Collins and Smith led the passage of legislation named after former Senator Kay Hagan, DN.C., designed to strengthen the CDC’s efforts to improve research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment tick-borne illnesses under Appropriation Act 2020. Hagan died at age 66 in 2019 from complications from tick-borne Powassan virus. Senators argue their legislation needs full funding, $ 30 million per year over five years through the CDC, to properly equip states to tackle the rise in Lyme disease and others tick-borne diseases.

“There are still many questions regarding Lyme and other tick-borne diseases due to significant gaps in funding and research,” Smith, Collins and the other 10 Senators wrote to Senate Appropriation Committee leaders. in a letter of July 8.

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