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Senator Gillibrand Calls for $200M to Research Tick-Borne Illnesses

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In the midst of tick season, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on Thursday announced her push for federal funding to research tick-borne illnesses. Ticks are widespread throughout Upstate New York and transmit a number of dangerous diseases, including Lyme disease, which can lead to serious complications and complex chronic conditions that have not been well-studied. Gillibrand is pushing for nearly $200 million for research to understand the full impact of Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses in the Fiscal Year 2025 government funding bill.

“Lyme disease, other tick-borne illnesses, and the sometimes lifelong complications they cause are poorly studied. Additional research can help us find better treatments and preventative measures for the thousands of Americans who suffer from Lyme and the millions more who live in high-risk areas,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am fighting to include almost $200 million in next year’s government funding bill to fund critical research to understand the full impact of Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses and help us combat the often devastating and life-altering impacts of these illnesses.”

Specifically, Gillibrand is calling for:

  1. $30 million for the Department of Health and Human Services to implement a national strategy to address vector-borne diseases, including tick-borne diseases.
  2. $30 million for the CDC to further their Lyme disease and tick-borne illness work.
  3. $9 million to support the Department of Defense’s Tick-Borne Disease Research Program. Because many military bases are located in regions with large tick populations, service members and their families are at particularly high risk for tick-borne illnesses.
  4. $130 million for Lyme and tick-borne disease research at the National Institutes of Health.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection carried by deer ticks, which can be transmitted through a bite to a human or animal. If left untreated, the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi travels through the bloodstream, manifests itself in body tissues, and causes mild or severe symptoms, depending on the case. Lyme disease begins as a rash at the location of the tick bite and then spreads to the nervous system, heart, and joints. Early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment are crucial to recovery, and appropriate antibiotic use in the early stages of Lyme disease typically results in a swift recovery. Untreated and undiagnosed Lyme disease can lead to debilitating effects on a person’s health.

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