Thanks in part to efforts by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, a spending bill that passed a House committee yesterday includes language that pushes the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to put more focus on the detection and reporting of Lyme disease and research into long-term symptoms of the disease. The FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill passed the House Appropriations Committee today. Pingree is a member of that committee and pushed for the Lyme disease language to be included.
"Lyme disease is a problem that is growing really quickly and we need to get ahead of it with more research and better data," Pingree said. "This language pushes the CDC to develop better tests to diagnose Lyme disease and create a national reporting system to keep track of new cases of the disease."
It's estimated that the number of cases of Lyme in Maine has grown from less than a 100 a decade ago, to several thousand in the last few years. But even these numbers are likely only a small with representation of the problem with only 1 in 10 cases of Lyme disease actually reported.
"This language also does something else that I think is very important, and this is to tell the CDC to do more research into the long-term complications of Lyme disease," Pingree said. "There are plenty of people who have symptoms that last months or even years and there hasn't been anywhere nearenough attention paid to what is happening to them."
Pingree also helped to secure funding for further research into tick-borne diseases like Lyme in the House version of the FY 2016 Defense Appropriations bill.