A letter signed by a bipartisan group of a dozen US Representatives was sent to Acting Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Eric Hargan, to follow up on report language for Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations regarding Lyme disease, to improve the measurement and tracking of the progress of federal efforts to combat the disease.

Black-legged tick
Ixodes scapularis, a Black-legged tick/CDC

Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook) said, “Upstate individuals and families are unfortunately very familiar with the perils of tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease. This is why I have made it a priority in Congress to advance efforts to improve research and awareness to ultimately prevent future cases and mitigate the harmful effects of the disease. There is concern, however, that it can be difficult to enumerate the progress we are making through some of these efforts. The letter sent by myself and my colleagues outlines specific objectives and indicators to track our progress, and make informed decisions when considering funding for certain programs in the CDC.”

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The letter outlines the performance measures for Lyme disease as Congress considers funding levels to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC).

Performance Indicators:

  • Decrease the incidence of Lyme disease in the United States.
  • Reduce the average time between onset of symptoms and diagnosis of Lyme disease.
  • Increase the number of tests performed for Lyme disease that can confirm the presence of infection

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Strategic Objectives:

  • Increase collaboration between HHS agencies and state and local health departments to prevent and control tick-borne diseases.
  • Promote the development of innovative diagnostics and treatments for tick-borne diseases and co-infections.
  • Increase research aimed at controlling or reducing the population of ticks and reducing their ability to transmit disease.
  • Increase research on methods of prevention for stopping the transmission of tick-borne diseases to host reservoir animals and humans.
  • Promote personal protection methods to prevent tick-borne diseases.

Faso was joined by fellow signers: Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY), Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA), Rep. William Keating (D-MA), Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY).