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Bill to Combat Tick-Borne Diseases Signed into Law

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Bipartisan legislation that aims to bolster funding to more effectively protect residents against tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme Disease, was signed into law last month by Governor Kathy Hochul.

The bill, which was sponsored by local State Senators Pete Harckham and Sue Serino, along with Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, creates a tax checkoff for Lyme and TBD education, research and prevention efforts, which would allow taxpayers to voluntarily contribute to a fund that would be dedicated to enhancing work in this field.

“The need for an increase in funding our fight against Lyme and other tick-borne diseases is greater than ever, and I thank my colleagues Senator Serino and Assemblymember Barrett for their resolute partnership on this issue,” Harckham said. “Now, residents will have an opportunity to join the fight against these diseases when they file their taxes.”

“With summer in full swing and New Yorkers spending more time outdoors, it is critically important to highlight the need to make substantive investments in research, education, and prevention initiatives to help stop the spread of Lyme and tick-borne diseases,” Serino said. “Not only will this bill give New Yorkers a chance to play an active role in this cause, it will help to raise critical awareness for this issue, and I sincerely thank Senator Harckham for his partnership in making the fight against Lyme and TBDs a real priority.”

New York has the second highest number of confirmed Lyme Disease cases in the nation. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are nearly a half million new cases of Lyme Disease in the United States each year, which makes Lyme the third most common bacterial infectious disease in America. 

Due to inaccurate diagnostic testing, however, the actual number of cases remains elusive and is thought to be much higher. While cases of Lyme and TBDs used to be concentrated in and around the Hudson Valley and Long Island, in recent years the spread of Lyme and TBDs has become a significant statewide issue, with case numbers on the rise in nearly every region. 

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