With tick-borne diseases on the rise in the Empire State–approximately 8,000 cases of Lyme disease, 700 cases of anaplasmosis, 400 cases of babesiosis, 100 cases of ehrlichiosis, and 30 cases of other tick-borne illnesses reported to the Department of Health annually, not to count the unreported, it’s a huge public health issue in the state and a danger to the public.
Each year, the Governor delivers an annual message to the Legislature regarding the state of the state as required by the state Constitution.
In his 2018 State of the State Book, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he will launch an aggressive initiative to reduce the incidence of Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illnesses in New York State, but controlling tick populations on public lands, advancing research on diagnostics and treatment, and further increasing public awareness.
First, the Governor will direct the Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to launch a tick reduction strategy targeting priority counties and public lands with the highest risk of tick exposure and Lyme disease. Tick control methods will include strategic application of ecofriendly tick control treatments to high traffic trails and facilities, as well the expanded use of 4-poster tickicide stations to treat deer and traps to treat rodents.
Second, the Governor will direct the Commissioner of Health to establish a new working group on Lyme and other tickborne diseases to review current strategies and improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases in New York State.
The DOH Wadsworth Center will work with private partners to explore ways to improve diagnostic testing and treatment for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, as better solutions are needed to protect New Yorkers.
Third, the Department of Health will continue its robust public outreach campaigns and also convene a tick-borne disease summit this spring, bringing together national experts, members of the new working group and local health departments to review New York’s existing initiatives, and to make recommendations for future policy actions.
Gov. Cuomo’s proposal was applauded by Lyme advocacy organizations like Lyme Action Network.
“This announcement represents a significant victory for the victims of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in our state,” confirmed Christina Fisk, President of the Lyme Action Network. “The Lyme Action Network and other advocates from around the state have been working for years to provide the Governor and the Legislature with an accurate picture of the severity of the tick-borne disease problem in this state. We appreciate that our calls for attention and reform are being heard.”
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