New York Senate Majority Coalition co-leaders Dean Skelos and Jeffrey Klein announced Monday a Senate Task Force on Lyme and Tick Borne Diseases has been created. The purpose of the task force is to examine state and federal efforts to combat the continued spread of these diseases and make recommendations for a plan to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
Senator Kemp Hannon of Garden City — the chairman of the Senate Health Committee — will co-chair the task force with Senator Ken LaValle, Senator David Carlucci and Senator Elizabeth Little.
The task force will research recommendations for a state action plan to address Lyme and other tick-borne diseases modeled after the 2001 West Nile Virus Response Plan.
That plan was developed by the state department of health in response to the West Nile Virus outbreak in 1999.
“While knowledge of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases has been available for many years, far too many people continue to suffer the effects of tick-borne illnesses, demonstrating a need for further action,” said Hannon. “The consequences of undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, untreated and mistreated infections from ticks can be serious and debilitating. State and federal agencies must work together with local communities and experts in the field to help develop a comprehensive plan to increase prevention and improve diagnosis and treatment in New York.”
“I have, for many years, worked with the East End towns in my district to seek ways to control ticks and the spread of tick borne diseases, including securing funds for 4-Poster feeding stations,” said LaValle. “Tick-borne diseases and, specifically, Lyme disease are debilitating and must be controlled and stopped. I thank Senator Skelos for appointing me to this task force and look forward to getting to work on this issue.”
The Centers for Disease Control recently estimated that about 300,000 individuals are diagnosed with Lyme each year nationally. Lyme is the most common reported tick-borne illness in the United States with 13 states accounting for most reported cases.
The task force will explore innovative ways of addressing tick densities, such as the 4-poster deer tick program which uses deer feeding stations designed in such a way that the animal must put its neck, where most of the ticks congregate, through two rollers that contain an insecticide, permethrin, that kills ticks.
The Task Force will review research, consult with experts, hear from the public and work with the appropriate state and federal agencies in developing recommendations for a New York State Action Plan on Lyme and tick-borne diseases which can serve as a comprehensive roadmap for the state to improve diagnosis and treatment to prevent future tragedies.