Rep. Chris Smith Newsletter – Lyme in 2022

Congressman Chris Smith
Congressman Chris Smith

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month — Congressman Christopher H. Smith (NJ-04) in his Congressman Chris Smith Reports Home 2022 newsletter warns the public of Lyme disease, especially as the weather warms up and exposure to ticks increase. Lyme and tick-borne illnesses are exploding in the U.S., and NJ is highly endemic. However, most federal officials do not fully understand the risk and catastrophic consequences of Lyme and tick-borne diseases, nor have awareness of the emerging new tick-borne diseases and co-infections. 

Rep. Smith’s newsletter documents his 30 years of advocacy for Lyme patients since meeting Pat Smith, now LDA president, who urged him in the early 1990s to push federal health policy leaders to combat Lyme.  Since then, Rep. Chris Smith co-founded and co-chairs the bipartisan Lyme Disease Caucus; and authored amendments and bills to increase federal funding for Lyme research and enhanced treatment access for Lyme patients.  Smith’s legislation (H.R. 611; H.R. 2557; H.R. 1179; H.R. 741; H.R. 3427) was central to establishing the first federal Interagency Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Working Group dedicated to facilitate research, development, and collaboration on Lyme disease.

“Much of what we have argued for more than the past 30 years has now been scientifically validated by the working group, including the fact that hundreds of thousands of people – especially and including more than 800,000 New Jersey residents according to estimates based on the CDC Data – have gotten seriously ill from ticks and that the federal response to date has been woefully inadequate.”

Read Rep. Smith’s newsletter below (or open pdf here) for more history, including meetings with the CDC, NIH, HHS; the CDC’s stance on chronic Lyme, and treatment; and information on the TICK Act, authored by Smith, which became law in 2019.

On newsletter: Paid for by official funds authorized by the House of Representatives.