Assemblymember Barrett Urges Gov. Cuomo to Restore Funding to Combat Lyme and Other Tick-Borne Diseases

June 11, 2019

Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Dutchess/Columbia) is encouraging Hudson Valley residents to sign onto a letter she recently wrote to Gov. Cuomo requesting he restore $1 million in funding for Lyme and tick-borne disease (TBD) research, education and prevention initiatives. The funding, which was included in the 2018-19 state budget, was inexplicably left out of this year’s budget.

“The public health threat posed by tick-borne illnesses continues to grow, and it’s critical that we do everything to stop their spread,” said Barrett. “These diseases can cause lifelong complications, leave families with astronomical medical bills and negatively impact our state’s tourism and agricultural industries. I urge the governor to fund these programs so we can better protect New York families.”

The $1 million allocated in last year’s budget included:

  • $192,000 for the Cary Institute of Ecosystems Studies, Inc. to research community-based prevention techniques;
  • $175,000 for Stony Brook University’s new infectious disease laboratory;
  • $130,000 for Cornell University to conduct a study on tick distribution and the various diseases they carry in different parts of the state;
  • $112,000 for the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO) to hold regional educational lectures;
  • $100,000 for SUNY Adirondack to conduct research on less-common TBDs;
  • $75,000 for Southampton Hospital’s Tick-Borne Disease Resource Center;
  • $60,000 to increase the number of tick collection and testing sites;
  • $50,000 for SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry to research how seasonal variations affect transmission risks;
  • $30,000 for Paul Smith’s College to study TBDs in the North Country;
  • $26,000 for Cornell Cooperative Extension to hold regional forums;
  • $25,000 to continue database mining on various Lyme-related projects; and
  • $25,000 for the town of Shelter Island to implement their tick management plan.

Barrett has long been at the forefront of this critical issue. She started a public awareness campaign, #GetTickedOff, as well as authored and passed legislation to address Lyme and TBDs. This includes measures to require the installation of signs at state parks alerting visitors to the dangers of tick bites (Ch. 354 of 2018) and establish a working group to study best practices of diagnosing, treating and preventing the spread of these diseases (Ch. 337 of 2018).

To sign onto Barrett’s letter or learn more about Lyme and TBDs, visit www.nyassembly.gov/Barrett.