NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York lawmakers are sounding an alarm, saying something needs to be done to address the growing tick population.

Following a hearing, State Sen. Kemp Hannon concluded the tick population is exploding.

Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses are on the rise.

The rare and sometimes fatal Powassan virus recently turned up in Dutchess County — the fourth case in New York state this year.

Hannon is proposing funding for research and field studies.

“We need a focus, we need to get the Department of Health to do an absolute work plan on this, they did it for West Nile,” Hannon said. “We need to put more money into this, significantly more money.”

He said testing is not always reliable and many times tick-related illnesses are misdiagnosed.

“The rampant inaccuracies that plague the tests currently used to detect tick-bourne diseases were both under- or overreporting the problems, leaving some individuals with symptoms that they would suffer for years before an accurate diagnosis was received,” Hannon said.

He wants the health department to devise a protocol for doctors to address the issue.

“It’s not just whether or not you have a rash, but it’s also what to do for a follow up and the amount of research that needs to be done to pursue what exactly tick-borne diseases consist of,” Hannon said.

He said there should be better screening, especially for children who present symptoms so they could be treated swiftly and not suffer lingering effects.