Tick-borne diseases are now a "significant statewide issue."

On Wednesday, lawmakers from the Hudson Valley announced they are working together to battle Lyme and tick-borne diseases.

Lyme and tick-borne diseases continue to plague thousands of New Yorkers each year, officials say.

Senators Peter Harckham and Sue Serino joined forces, once again, to advance bipartisan legislation that aims to bolster funding to more effectively combat the spread and better protect New Yorkers against tick-borne illness, officials say.

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“We need to increase funding for research, education and prevention relating to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, and I thank my colleague Senator Serino for her resolute partnership on this issue. Providing taxpayers with an opportunity to join the fight against these diseases is a great initiative, and I am confident our legislation will once again be met with approval,” said Senator Harckham.

The CDC believes there are about a half-million new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year. This makes Lyme the third most common bacterial infectious disease in America.

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New York is home to the second-highest number of confirmed Lyme disease cases in the nation, officials say.

Inaccurate Testing

Due to inaccurate diagnostic testing officials believe the actual number of cases remains elusive and is thought to be much higher.

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Lyme Spreading Across New York

Lyme and tick-borne diseases are the worst in the Hudson Valley and Long Island.

However, officials say in recent years the spread of Lyme and tick-borne diseases has become a "significant statewide issue," with case numbers on the rise in nearly every region.

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"Despite the prominence of vector-borne diseases in the state and numbers rising across the country, funding for Lyme and TBD research has lagged at both the federal and state levels," lawmakers stated in a press release.

New Bill

The bill would create a tax checkoff for Lyme and tick-borne diseases education, research and prevention efforts.

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This would allow taxpayers to voluntarily contribute to a fund that would be dedicated to bolstering work in this field, officials say.

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"Never has it been more important to make substantive investments in research, education, and prevention initiatives to help stop the spread of Lyme and tick-borne diseases,” Serino said. “This bill gives New Yorkers the opportunity to play an active role in this endeavor. While this bill is a step in the right direction, we will not stop pushing to ensure that meaningful funding to combat the spread of Lyme and tick-borne diseases is included in this year’s final State Budget.”

The bill passed the Senate unanimously and is sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblymember Didi Barrett.

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