WASHINGTON, DC -- The House of Representative recently approved an uptick in Lyme disease research funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Representative Chris Smith (NJ-4) recently announced.
Smith said the increased funding, which passed July 30 is “good news” for the estimated 800,000+ people in New Jersey who have contracted Lyme over the past 20 years. New Jersey has one of the highest amounts of Lyme cases in the nation.
“My amendment adds $4 million, for a total of $20 million, for Lyme disease research at the CDC for FY 2021. Just three years ago CDC’s Lyme budget was only $11.7 million,” said Smith. “The increase in funding achieved through my amendment will help CDC develop better diagnostic tests for Lyme, expand tick surveillance activities across the US and strengthen the federal government’s overall strategy to combat Lyme.”
Pat Smith (no relation to Rep. Smith), President of the Lyme Disease Association, a leading national Lyme advocacy group founded in 1991 and headquartered in Jackson, said Smith’s funding amendment is an important step in the fight to reign in Lyme disease.
“The rising case numbers and increasing spread of tick-borne diseases are alarming and require a sustained focus from Congress to try to control this epidemic,” she said.
Earlier in July, the House agreed to another Smith sponsored Lyme disease amendment to investigate possible origins of modern-day Lyme. The amendment mandating a GAO investigation into possible use of ticks in a Department of Defense bioweapons program could shed more light on the massive increase in modern-day Lyme disease in recent years, and its heavier concentration in certain regions in the country.
In addition, the congressman introduced the House version of the recently enacted law, the TICK Act (Ticks: Identify, Control, Knockout Act—HR 3073), which implements a whole of government approach to aggressively fight Lyme disease and authorizes an additional $150 million to increase funding for Lyme research, prevention and treatment programs.
“With Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases exploding in the United States—there are an estimated 300,000 to 427,000 new cases each year and 10-20 percent of all patients are suffering from chronic Lyme disease— the federal government needs to provide more funding for research, surveillance, treatments and a cure,” he said.
Smith said the bill provides $50 million over five years to codify the Regional Centers of Excellence in Vector Borne Disease which have led the scientific response against tick-borne diseases. And the bill authorizes new CDC grants for a total of $100 million over five years, to build a public health infrastructure for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
Know a story we should share with readers? Email editor Elizabeth Meyers and tell her about it.