Sleepy Hollow, NY Senator Schumer Press Conference

03 July 2007
Created: 03 July 2007
Senator Schumer’s Press Conference, Sleepy Hollow, New York, July 3, 2007
Remarks of Pat Smith, President, Lyme Disease Association, Inc. (LDA)
888 366 6611
Senator Schumer’s Press Conference, Sleepy Hollow, New York, July 3, 2007
Remarks of Pat Smith, President, Lyme Disease Association, Inc. (LDA)
888 366 6611
Lyme, the most prevalent vector-borne disease in the US, is found in over 80 countries worldwide. About 230,000 new cases of Lyme disease develop each year, and current numbers are more than 2 ½ times those of 1991. Almost every year, NY is number one in reported cases.
Cases have increased due to development and sprawl which have moved animals in close proximity to people. Animals such as the white-footed mouse, chipmunk, squirrel, carry ticks near your homes, putting you, your children and your pets at risk for Lyme and other tickborne diseases. Additionally, according to the UN, global warming plays a role in the increased incidence of Lyme disease. In a 2007 report, scientists in Sweden announced that ticks now have moved as far north as the Arctic Circle.
Many of us in the Northeast have noted a year round tick threat as the ticks become active and search for a blood meal when temperatures rise above approximately 35. ° One bite can produce a multitude of diseases. Waiting on low lying vegetation for you to come by, the deer tick may bite and infect you with Lyme and perhaps babesiosis, anaplasmosis, encephalitis, maybe even bartonellosis and tick paralysis. Chasing after you aggressively, the lone star tick may bite and infect you with Lyme-like STARI, ehrlichiosis, tick paralysis and RMSF. The often neglected American dog tick may give you ehrlichiosis, RMSF, and perhaps tularemia.
Having Lyme once does not provide immunity; you can get it again and again from subsequent tick bites. The Lyme bacteria can survive in stored blood under blood banking conditions, and a recent CDC study has demonstrated transmission through blood in mice.
The Lyme bacteria can enter the central nervous system within hours of a tick bite. It can attack every system in the body and can be misdiagnosed as many other conditions including MS, ALS, CFS, FM, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and even autism. It can hide in the skin & joints, evade the immune system, mutate, change into forms unrecognizable to conventional antibiotics and can kill cells that are supposed to kill it. It can cross the placenta, cause birth defects and death of the fetus, and it can kill those infected.
Despite the severity and spread of Lyme disease, the federal government spends about 33M on Lyme compared to 78M on West Nile Virus. Old technology continues to be used to diagnose Lyme disease! a recent Johns Hopkins Study indicates current Lyme tests miss 75% of Lyme cases. No research is being done to find a cure for chronic Lyme disease, little is being done with prevention, even surveillance is not keeping up, as only 10% of Lyme disease cases which meet the CDC surveillance criteria are being reported.And worse, a newly adopted position by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists may allow the CDC to restrict the use of the EM rash for diagnosis in non endemic areas such as the south and Midwest, requiring in those areas a positive test along with the rash if the CDC adopts the criteria.
Our children 5-14, are at greatest risk of acquiring the disease, and they may spend years out of school due to its effects. Columbia University research has demonstrated a 22 pt. IQ drop 2 in a Lyme patient, reversed with treatment. LDA and its CT affiliate, Time for Lyme, partnered with Columbia University to open on April 30, 2007, an endowed research center for studying chronic Lyme disease.
Unfortunately, the monies our organizations can provide are relatively small, but research requires a monetary commitment commensurate with Lyme’s severity. Thus the need for the passage of the newly introduced Senate bill S-1708 (Schumer, Dodd, Hagel) The bill will provide 20M/year over 4 years. The Lyme community is deeply grateful for Senator Schumer’s dedication to passage of the federal legislation, which will culminate in a commitment from the government to develop a gold standard test, to evaluate the CDC surveillance criteria, to provide physician education and prevention strategies, and to form a federal task force to coordinate Lyme disease efforts. The House version of the bill, HR 741, introduced in January, closely parallels the senate bill and already has 86 co-sponsors, and with help from the Senator, I am sure we will soon see many senate co-sponsors on the senate version.
Remember: Lyme disease does not require any risky behavior. Your dog rolling in the leaves and coming into the house may bring in disease carrying ticks; your child playing on the swings in the park or in the backyard may be at risk. Prevention, education and research can keep your family safe. Ask your senators and congressmen to sign onto these bills today if they have not done so. Thank you, Senator Schumer.

Lyme Disease Association, Inc.
PO Box 1438, Jackson, NJ 08527 

888-366-6611 | information line
732-938-7215 | fax | email

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