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Change is on the horizon

Change is on the horizon

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Lyme and other tick-borne diseases have been greatly understudied and widely ignored issues for several decades. In recent years, many federally funded programs have taken notice of the growing problem of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases and long overdue actions are now taking place.

Recent legislation, partnerships and strategies to advance the fight against Lyme and other tick-borne diseases include:

  • Through the 21st Century Cures Act, passed into law in 2016, a task force was convened in 2017 at the national level to tackle the growing issues surrounding Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
    • The Health and Human Services Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (TBDWG) was tasked to complete the first report to Congress by December of 2018.  Researchers, scientists, managers, physicians, patients and advocates came together to complete this task. Monica White, President/Co-Founder of COTBDAA served as a subcommittee member on the Disease Vectors, Surveillance and Prevention Subcommittee for the 2018 report.  The first report to Congress was submitted in November of 2018.
    • The next report to Congress is due November of 2020.  Monica White, President/Co-Founder of COTBDAA served as a subcommittee member on the Babesiosis and Tick-Borne Pathogens Subcommittee for the 2020 report.
    • Details regarding the Working Group members, mission and meetings, public comment, as well as access to the published reports can be found on the HHS TBDWG webpage.
  • The Kay Hagan Tick Act, passed in 2019. The Tick Act:
    • Required the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a National Strategy.  A National Public Health Framework for the Prevention and Control of Vector-Borne Diseases in Humans
    • Reauthorized 5 Regional Centers of Excellence in Vector-Borne Disease for five years at $10 million per year.  These Centers have led the scientific response against tick-borne diseases and are located at universities in New York, California, Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin.
    • Authorized CDC grants at $20 million per year to be awarded to state health departments to improve data collection and analysis, support early detection and diagnosis, improve treatment, and raise awareness. These awards would help states build a public health infrastructure for Lyme and other tick and vector-borne diseases and amplify their initiatives through public-private partnerships.

Federal funding for Lyme disease increased by 65% in 2021 due to the work of Lyme advocacy groups nationwide. COTBDAA was proud to be a part of these efforts so successfully led and organized by Center for Lyme Action.