Senator Ritchie Distributing Handouts for Lyme Disease Awareness Month in May

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As part of “Lyme Disease Awareness Month,” State Senator Patty Ritchie is once again teaming up with local school districts to provide vital information concerning the prevention of both Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Lyme disease.

Through informational pamphlets created by Senator Ritchie – who serves on the Senate’s Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases – students and families throughout Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties are being connected with information on how to protect themselves from Lyme disease and EEE.

Here in our region, the number of cases of EEE and Lyme disease have seen a sharp increase over the last decade.

Since 2012, Senator Ritchie has distributed more than 150,000 of informational pamphlets to raise awareness, and to help students and families better understand how to avoid ticks and other disease-carrying insects.

“It is critically important that parents and students know the danger, and steps they can take to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Senator Ritchie, deputy vice chair of the Senate Health Committee. “That’s why this information needs to be distributed to as many people as possible to prevent EEE and Lyme in Central and Northern New York. I want to thank our local school districts, superintendents, teachers, students and families for their efforts to help spread the word.”

You can view the pamphlet on Senator Ritchie’s website, www.ritchie.nysenate.gov.

Recently, Senator Ritchie cosponsored the following measures – all of which have passed the Senate – to help stop the spread of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, as well as improve treatment for those affected by them:

Senate Bill (S2168) helps to address the issue of a lack of insurance coverage for those diagnosed with Lyme disease. The bill requires the State Health Care Quality and Cost Containment Commission to meet annually and submit a report on the impact of providing coverage for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases;

Senate Bill (S2588) provides homeowners with important information on the best way to safeguard their property from ticks. It directs the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation to develop guidelines for best practices in treating residential properties to reduce exposure to ticks; and

Senate Bill (S2621) helps to ensure medical professionals receive the proper training to treat those who have contracted Lyme or other tick-borne disease. It authorizes the Department of Health to award grants for graduate medical education in Lyme and tick-borne diseases, designate organizations as centers of excellence for Lyme and tick-borne diseases, and designate Lyme and tick-borne-disease resource centers.

These efforts are part of Senator Ritchie’s continued work to fight insect-borne illnesses.

In the new state budget, Senator Ritchie helped secure $1 million to combat Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in New York State. The funding, which is double the amount in last year’s budget, will help increase research, education and prevention tactics.