Keating Introduces Tick-Borne Disease Prevention Bill

William Richard Keating

WASHINGTON – Congressman Bill Keating has introduced legislation aimed at combating the spread of tick-borne illnesses.

The Tick-Borne Disease Prevention Act would direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to publish materials specific to Lyme Disease, in an attempt to increase awareness for both health care providers and the public.

Keating says the issue is of great importance to his district, with Nantucket, Dukes, Plymouth, Bristol, and Barnstable counties all ranking in the top five of the highest rates of Lyme in Massachusetts.

“Residents of Southeastern Massachusetts – and all throughout the Northeast – are keenly aware of how prevalent ticks are and how dangerous a tick bite can be,”Keating said. “Of critical importance is the amount of engagement on this issue in our district because it hits so close to home – particularly for children and seniors, who are the most susceptible to tick-borne illnesses. With potential diagnoses ten times higher than the number of cases reported to the CDC, it’s time for Congress to recognize that we need to do more to prevent the spread of tick-borne disease.My legislation will help increase awareness and promote early detection, which is a critical component to a good prognosis.”

According to the CDC, there are over 30,000 cases of Lyme reported annually nationwide.

“The Barnstable County Tick-borne Diseases Task Force has an eighteen year track record of successful dissemination of information relative to the ever expanding problem of tick-borne diseases,”said Henry Lind, co-chair of the Barnstable County Tick-borne Diseases Task Force. “We reach individuals, civic groups, public schools and the medical community. While we have measured successes in education and awareness, the epidemic continues to grow in scope and scale with new tick-borne diseases being identified on a regular basis. Clearly, timely updates and continuous education is our single most important defense for the protection of our citizens against these diseases. Our initiative has been entirely locally funded and the assistance of the CDC will be an important ingredient to success. We are grateful for the support of Rep. Keating to encourage the expansion and distribution of timely information on tick-borne diseases.”

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