HYDE PARK, NY – With no funding specifically dedicated to it in the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal, Senator Sue Serino today is calling on the State to make funding to combat the spread of Lyme and tick-borne diseases (TBDs) a priority in this year’s State Budget.

“Public health needs to be our top priority in this year’s State Budget,” said Senator Sue Serino. “With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, now is not the time to take steps back in our fight against Lyme and tick-borne diseases—diseases whose symptoms often mimic those of COVID. Now is the time to be reaffirming our commitment to combating these diseases, curbing the spread, and protecting New Yorkers. While we face tremendous fiscal challenges, budgets are about priorities, and we cannot lose sight of the issues we know are directly impacting so many New Yorkers. Funding to help combat the spread of Lyme and tick-borne diseases has never been more important.”

Despite widespread bi-partisan support for efforts aimed at tackling ticks, in the two years that Albany has been under one-party control, funding for Lyme and tick-borne diseases has been substantially reduced. In 2018, Senator Serino was successful in securing an unprecedented $1 million to help support research, education and prevention initiatives. In both 2019 and 2020, funding for these programs was reduced to only $250,000.

Last year, we saw New Yorkers spending more and more time outdoors, taking to our parks, trails, and outdoor recreational activities like never before,” Serino continued. “We expect that trend to continue and we have a duty to do all that we can to ensure New Yorkers have the tools they need to stay healthy and tick-free.”

According to new data from the CDC, approximately 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease alone each year. While cases of Lyme and TBDs used to be concentrated in and around the Hudson Valley and Long Island, in recent years, the spread of Lyme and TBDs has become a significant statewide issue with case numbers on the rise in nearly every region.