A new bill dubbed the “TickRAID Act,” introduced to both the New York State Senate and Assembly, aims to provide funding to help in the fight against tick-borne illness.
The Research Aid for Tick-Borne Diseases Act, as it is more formally known, is sponsored by Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. of Sag Harbor and State Senator Terry Gipson, who represents Dutchess and Putnam counties. It would provide the State Department of Health’s Tick Borne Disease Institute with a $1 million appropriation to promote research, detection, education and outreach on tick-borne illness through a competitive grant process.
Due to budget constraints, funding to the organization has been cut by a reported 50 percent over the past six years, according to a press release issued by Mr. Thiele’s office.
“I am proud to join with Senator Gipson in calling for the resources we need to better understand these potentially incapacitating diseases,” said Mr. Thiele in the statement. “The extent and severity of the Lyme disease cases on the East End has escalated to the point of a public health crisis.”
It is reported that the Tick-Borne Disease Institute has been underfunded and has experienced significant cuts, from $150,000 in 2008 to under $70,000 in 2013, despite the fact that the spread of Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses in New York State has been growing astronomically in the past few years.