Invasive Tick Survives in NJ; New Federal $$ & Directives; HHS WG Meeting & Subcom. Appt.

April 2018

Longhorned Ticks Survived the NJ Winter: Invasive Species May Be Established
The Lyme Disease Association reports that on April 17, 2018, a new tick species to the U.S. has been confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory to have wintered over in NJ, and it may now be an established species.  Haemaphysalis longicornis, aka longhorned or bush tick, was confirmed in Hunterdon County, NJ, on November 9, 2017 and a mystery still surrounds its appearance. Initial ID was done by Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology and Hunterdon Co. Department of Health. The animals and property on which the ticks were found were treated to eliminate the tick last year, but the effort was apparently unsuccessful. Wildlife surveillance in the area is continuing to determine if the ticks have spread beyond that area. This tick from East Asia is a serious problem for livestock, particularly in New Zealand, as well as to pets and humans. The tick is dark brown and grows to pea size when fully engorged. 
According to James L. Occi, PhD (in progress), Center for Vector Biology, Department of Entomology, Rutgers, also a Scientific Advisory Board Member for the Lyme Disease Association, Inc., dragging for the ticks was not successful so they used CO2 traps to lure the ticks. Problematic is that “the scientists with the most experience with this tick are in parts of Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.”
Photo: Nymphs scapularis on left, longicornis on right. Thanks to J. Occi, Rutgers

New Federal Monies & Important Directives Targeting Lyme & Tick-Borne Diseases
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, signed into law on March 23, 2018 (Public Law 115-141), funds the Federal government through Sept. 30, 2018. It includes increased funding of $12.2 million for CDC’s vector-borne diseases activities and an increase of $353.6 million for the National Institutes of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, NIAID, which is the NIH Institute that funds Lyme disease research, influenza, and other infectious diseases. Each individual appropriations bill that passed either the House or Senate Appropriations Committee has a committee report that provides explanations of Congressional intent and directions to agencies in expending appropriated funds, such as referenced below. 
The Lyme Disease Association, Inc., LDA, worked with the office of Congressman Chris Smith (NJ) in developing several provisions that were included in the appropriate committee report, i.e., H. Report 115-244. Those provisions included: ensuring transparency, input from treating physicians and representation of the broad spectrum of scientific viewpoints in CDC’s physician education program for Lyme disease; a written rationale for treatment guidelines included on CDC’s website; research that will increase understanding of full range of Lyme disease processes and physiology of Borrelia burgdorferi and B. mayonii, including mechanisms of persistence; development of more sensitive and accurate diagnostics for Lyme and other TBD, including next generation PCR and new methodologies, such as omics; a bibliography of peer-reviewed TBD literature to include literature on possible mechanisms of persistent Borrelia infection. Other groups also provided input to report language.
Photo: Congressman Chris Smith & Pat Smith, LDA Pres.

TBD Working Group: May 10 Meeting & Subcommittee Co-Chair Appointment
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces the fourth “on-line” meeting of the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group on May 10, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., Eastern Time. This is an on-line meeting that is open to the public.
Paula Jackson Jones, President of the Midcoast Lyme Disease Support and Education, Maine, was named co-chair of the Access to Care Services and Support to Patients Subcommittee.

Has your Congressman Joined the US House Lyme Caucus? Check Here
Lyme patients need help. The House Lyme Disease Caucus can provide us with the backing we need in DC to get things done. Let’s get our Congressmen in the US House of Representatives to sign up. It is a bi-partisan group, under the leadership of Congressmen Chris Smith (NJ) and co-chair Colin Peterson (MN), working together in Congress to take action on Lyme & tick-borne diseases.
Photo: Pat Smith, President & Rich Smith, Vice President of the LDA in Wall, NJ, with Congressman Chris Smith, Co-Chair of the House Lyme Caucus, discussing what actions can be taken in DC to help those with Lyme and to stop the spread of Lyme & other tick-borne diseases, 4/19/2017

Post Your State Lyme Awareness Proclamations Here
Many states and counties have taken steps to raise awareness regarding Lyme and tick-borne diseases. Declaring “May Lyme Awareness Month” is one move to help remind people spring is here, ticks are out, prevention & proper education are your best tools to staying healthy.
Proclamations are issued by governors and resolutions are adopted by the legislature. 

UMD Research Isolates Bb Protein that Disables Immune System
University of Maryland researcher,   Dr. Utpal Pal, Professor in Veterinary Medicine, has uncovered a mechanism by which the bacteria that causes Lyme disease persists in the body and fights your early, innate immune responses. 

NYS Senator Seward Calls for Study of Link Between Lyme & Mental Health
The senate unanimously passed legislation (S.7171) co-sponsored by Senator Seward that would require the state to study the link between infectious diseases, blood-borne pathogens and mental illnesses.

4th Annual Midcoast Lyme Disease Support & Education Conference, Maine
Saturday, April 28th 8am-5pm
Supported by an educational grant from Lyme Disease Association, Inc.

Click our calendar icon to view May Awareness events hosted by LDA’s partners, members of LDAnet, LDA’s umbrella organization.

Colorado Tick-Borne Disease Awareness Association – Lyme & Other Tick-Borne Diseases: 3rd Rocky Mountain Forum , May 19

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