Lyme disease, once considered mostly a “downstate” concern, is now a growing public health threat across Upstate New York.
In recent weeks, as we’ve entered the height of tick season, we’ve heard public health officials in Yates and other area counties issue warnings about this debilitating illness that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans annually.
So while it didn’t receive the attention it deserved in the closing days of this year’s legislative session in Albany, the State Senate Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases released an important report that we hope will continue to spark and guide the development of federal- and state-level action plans to address the rising concern.
Approximately 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease annually, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 450 new cases of Lyme disease have been reported in New York State alone so far in 2014. And that number is expected to continue rising each year as disease-laden ticks spread to more and more communities.