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Schumer Calls For More Research Into Tick-Borne Diseases

Late Summer Is Peak Lyme Disease Season
Sen. Charles Schumer discusses push for more research into tick-borne diseases, August 11, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Sen. Charles Schumer discusses push for more research into tick-borne diseases, August 11, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Late summer is peak Lyme disease season.

As a result, Sen. Charles Schumer has urged the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study new and potentially fatal tick-borne illnesses.

The New York Democrat has urged the CDC to look into two diseases that have already been found in the state.

Schumer noted that New York City and on Long Island lead the state in Lyme disease infections.

In addition to Lyme disease, ticks are known to carry Babesiosis, Powassan virus and Borrelia miyamotoi.

Schumer said those diseases are worse than Lyme disease.

“It’s not your average Lyme disease. It’s transmitted within 15 minutes of the bite. Lyme disease, if you see a tick on you and pull it off within 24 hours you won’t get it,” Schumer said of Powassan virus. “For Powassan, you have a one out of three chance of actually dying if you get bitten by it. It’s a deadly disease and there is no cure.”

The Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act would help combat the new and growing epidemic by improving and expanding the federal government’s efforts to contain the spread of tick-borne illnesses, Schumer’s office said in a release.

“We have over 2,000 cases in New York City and Long Island. There were only 228 reported cases several years ago,” said Schumer.

The bill would expand research into Lyme disease, improve education and require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to produce a report to educate doctors and other health professionals on the latest research and treatment options for such diseases, Schumer said.

The senator added many tick-borne illnesses can be difficult to diagnose, highlighting the need for more research.

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