Lyme Disease Association, Inc. Presents A May Lyme Disease Awareness Program: National Public Health Strategy to Prevent and Control Vector-Borne Diseases in People With a Focus on Lyme & Ticks

Presented By:
Congressman Christopher Smith (NJ)
Charles Ben Beard, MS, PhD – CDC
Susanna Visser, DrPH, MS – CDC
Timothy Lynagh, MBA – LDA


In this video, the Lyme Disease Association presents a Lyme Disease Awareness Month Program: National Public Health Strategy to Prevent and Control Vector-Borne Diseases in People With a Focus on Lyme & Ticks featuring LDA Board Member Timothy Lynagh, Congressman Christopher Smith, and CDC experts Susanna Visser and Charles Ben Beard. They discuss advocacy, research, and public health strategies to combat Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

Introduction with Lyme Disease Association Board Member Timothy Lynagh

We recognize May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month and fervently participate in raising awareness about Lyme disease. For many years, the fight against Lyme disease has been an uphill struggle. Fortunately, progress has been made thanks to the dedication of many determined individuals who strive to advance patients’ awareness and help them.

Overview of Lyme Disease Association’s range of activities to fight Lyme and other tick-borne illness:

  • As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, 95% of funds go directly to programs to help raise awareness and prevent and treat tick-borne illness.
  • Through our efforts, we have funded 127 research grants, and the results of many of these studies have been featured in peer-reviewed journals. 
  • We’ve awarded 173 education grants to fund education efforts and educational seminars.
  • We developed LymeAid 4 Kids, a fund that helps kids without insurance cover the cost of Lyme treatment.
  • hosts ongoing educational literature and a free online doctor referral resource.
  • In 2007, LDA co-funded Columbia University’s Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center in New York. 
  • LDA President Patricia Smith negotiated on finalizing new Lyme language in the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016, which created The Tick-Borne Disease Working Group to provide subject matter expertise and review federal efforts related to all tick-borne diseases. 

Congressman Christopher Smith Advocates for Lyme Disease Research and Treatment

Congressman Christopher Smith has long advocated for Lyme disease research, awareness, and treatment. He has introduced numerous bills to address the challenges of Lyme disease and other vector-borne diseases over the years. He emphasizes the notable limitations in health insurance coverage for Lyme disease, particularly for those with chronic Lyme. Insurance typically covers only one month of doxycycline, regardless of how long or severe the patient’s condition is. Even patients who have had Lyme disease for five years receive no additional treatment beyond this single antibiotic course. This limited coverage is made worse by Lyme disease often being underreported and misdiagnosed, as its symptoms mimic those of other diseases.

In 2019, Smith introduced the TICK Act to create a new whole-of-government national strategy to combat Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.    

Vector-Borne Disease (VBD) National Public Health Strategy With Susanna Visser, DrPH, MS – CDC

Vision: A nation where vector-borne diseases (VBD) no longer threaten human health and well-being.

Mission: Protect people from illness, suffering, and death due to VBD.


  1. Understand when, where, and how people are exposed to VBD.
  2. Develop and improve diagnostic tools for VBD.
  3. Create tools to prevent and control VBD.
  4. Develop treatment strategies.
  5. Implement public health programs to respond to VBD threats.

Target Public Health Outcomes:

  1. Eliminate deaths from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Arizona tribal communities by 2025.
  2. Eliminate sustained local spread of dengue by 2035.
  3. Reduce Lyme disease cases by 25% by 2035, compared to 2022.
  4. Reduce annual West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease cases to below 500 by 2035.

Spotlight on the Lyme Disease Target Outcomes With Charles Ben Beard, MS, PhD – CDC

Since 1996, there has been a gradual increase in the annual number of Lyme disease cases, along with a wider distribution of these cases and an expansion in deer tick distribution. Contributing factors include environmental changes, growing deer populations, reforestation, suburban sprawl, and climate change. Key prevention efforts focus on raising awareness about changing exposure patterns, educating healthcare providers on diagnosis and care, and increasing vaccine acceptability. Further, the SubLyme project aims to establish a clinical network to answer old and new questions regarding comparing patient outcomes, real-time characterization of persistent symptoms, and infrastructure for monitoring the impacts of a future vaccine. 


National Public Health Strategy to Prevent and Control Vector-Borne Diseases in People PDF

Federal Registry Text

CDC Webinar 5/23/2024: National Public Health Strategy for Vector-Borne Diseases