U.S. congressman introduces bill to ‘Stamp Out Lyme’

The Stamp Out Lyme Disease Act, a bipartisan bill aiming to stop the spread of Lyme disease with a postage stamp, was introduced by U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado in early December.

The legislation calls for the creation of a stamp to supplement congressional research funding for the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research treatments for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

“Lyme disease is an urgent and persistent threat in our upstate New York communities,” said Delgado. “Ticks and the diseases they carry threaten our livelihoods and rural way of life.”

Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases are “exploding” across the country, said Representative Chris Smith, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates upwards of 437,000 new cases are diagnosed in that country each year.

Lyme disease is caused by a group of bacteria, including Borrelia burgdorferi, B. bissettii and B. miyamotoi, and there are significant populations of Borrelia-carrying ticks in many parts of Canada. The number of Lyme disease cases reported by all provinces increased from 144 in 2009 to 992 in 2016 (an increase from 0.4 to 2.7 per 100,000 population). In 2016, nearly 90 per cent of reported Canadian cases were from Ontario, Québec and Nova Scotia.

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