Last May, Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) introduced HR 5878, the National Tick-Borne Diseases Control and Accountability Act.
Today, it was announced that Rep, Smith would reintroduce the legislation to create a new national strategy on Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases and to strengthen efforts across the federal government to fight, treat and prevent tick-borne disease.
“The 2018 report of the HHS Tick-Borne Disease Working Group made it clear—tick-borne diseases are spreading rapidly and are far outpacing our current national response to this problem,” Rep. Smith said. “My bipartisan legislation would create a new national strategy on Lyme disease and better coordinate efforts across federal agencies to make sure our response is targeted and effective. We must have all hands on deck to combat these diseases.”
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) was the lead Democratic co-sponsor of the legislation. “As a co-chair of the Congressional Lyme Disease Congress, I understand the importance of a coordinated federal response to Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses,” said Rep. Peterson. “The national strategy outlined by the National Tick-Borne Diseases Control and Accountability Act will help improve our ability to research, diagnose, and treat these rapidly growing threats.”
Among many key provisions, the Smith-Peterson legislation:
· Creates the Office of Oversight and Coordination for Tick-Borne Disease at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to oversee federal efforts to prevent and treat Lyme disease;
· Calls for a new national strategy on tick-borne diseases, and requires the HHS Secretary to report to Congress on federal efforts to diagnose and treat Lyme, and ensure collaboration between various agencies;
· Promotes coordination of federal tick-borne disease activities with the HHS Tick-Borne Disease Working Group
· Mandates that the HHS Secretary act to support better and expanded research on tick-borne diseases and the improvement of diagnostic testing, and promote education and public awareness of tick-borne diseases.
Smith is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus.