The New York State Senate recognized May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month by passing legislation and a resolution to combat Lyme and tick-borne diseases in the state.

With its abdomen engorged with a host blood meal, this image depicts a lateral, or side view of a female blacklegged, or deer tick, Ixodes scapularis/CDC

The bill (S5803A), sponsored by Senator Sue Serino (R-C-I, Hyde Park), would require the Department of Health to design a Lyme and tick-borne disease prevention program to promote awareness of the disease and inform communities about the best prevention methods.

Senator Serino, Chair of the Senate Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases (TBDs) said, “When it comes to Lyme and TBDs, information is power. This bill aims to arm the public with the information they need to stay safe and healthy as they enjoy New York’s great outdoors. A public awareness campaign that focuses on reducing one’s exposure to Lyme and TBDs can play a critical role in curbing the spread of these debilitating diseases. I certainly hope that my colleagues in the Assembly recognize the importance of this legislation and ensure its passage this year.”

Lyme Disease can severely impact a person’s quality of life, particularly if the disease goes undetected for an extended period of time. As Lyme disease cases continue to grow, efforts are ongoing to identify methods to prevent exposure. The educational awareness program this bill creates would include: prevention methods – including the safe use of recommended insect repellents; best practices for tick removal; recommendations for the reduction of exposure to ticks; and the appropriate course of action once a tick is removed.

The bill has been sent to the Assembly.