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Legislators Working to Tackle Lyme Disease
Pests carrying some dangerous diseases are on the rise, which is why local senators are trying to find out why lyme disease is so complex, and often overlooked.
New York State Senator, Terry Gipson says, "It's a very complicated subject, it's something that has been around for a long time, but is really not understood as much as it should be."
Holly Ahern, a microbiologist at Suny Adirondack is also among the many trying to raise awareness of the disease in hopes that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will create better guidelines for diagnosis and treatment.
"If you have strep throat you go to your doctor, they would diagnose it, they would give you antibiotics, you'd be better, end of story.That is the construct for lyme disease currently in the country," says Ahern.
Ahern adds it is an public health crisis that deserves greater attention and more research.
"I have two bills that have been presented to the state senate," says Gipson. "The first is the Doctor Protection Act, which will actually protect doctors who or are in the process of treating patients with lyme disease and long term chronic symptoms. The second is the bill that we call the tick bite act, which is a bill that will actually hold insurance companies accountable for covering the costs related to long term illnesses in relation to lyme disease."
Doctors in Virginia are required by law to tell their patients that testing negative for lyme disease doesn't mean they don't have it.
That isn't a requirement here in New York.
Research shows the blood tests doctors use to diagnose lyme disease are less than 50% accurate.
Congressman Chris Gipson is also working closely with state senators in hopes of funding greater research.
If you would like to see the latest legislative report With Senator Terry Gipson discussing this matter, click here.