ALBANY — The New York State Senate yesterday passed a bill introduced by Senator Jen Metzger to raise awareness among farmers and farm workers about Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. The bill directs New York State Agriculture and Markets to implement a campaign focused on the agricultural community that includes how to recognize symptoms, available treatments, and preventive measures.
“Lyme disease is a terrible fact of life for anyone who spends time outdoors, especially for farmers and farm workers, and the geographic spread and incidence of tick-borne illnesses is only growing worse with climate change,” said Senator Jen Metzger, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Addressing this public health crisis is a top priority of mine, and this legislation will help farmers and farm workers better understand how to protect themselves and their livestock from these potentially debilitating diseases.”
In the US, the CDC estimates that there are approximately 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease every year, most of them unreported. In 2016, there were 7,543 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in New York, a more than 100% increase over the previous year. In 2017, that number increased another 16% to more than 8700 reported cases.
The legislative package on Lyme also included two bills co-sponsored by Senator Metzger: a bill introduced by Senator Gaughran would look to ensure that insurance companies would cover long-term treatment of Lyme disease for those who need it; and a bill introduced by Senator Harckham requiring the reporting of tick-borne and Lyme disease infections after death in order to better understand the prevalence of the disease.
Jen Metzger represents the 42nd Senate District, which includes all of Sullivan County and parts of Delaware, Orange, and Ulster Counties. Senator Metzger serves as Chair of the Agriculture Committee and sits on the Environmental Conservation, Education, Health, Energy and Telecommunications, Local Government, Women’s Issues, Domestic Animal Welfare, and Legislative Commission on Rural Resources Committees.
–The Office of State Senator Jen Metzger
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