Tuesday evening, the House of Representatives approved by a voice vote legislation authored by Representative Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Rep. Peter Welch to address the growing problem of Lyme disease. The incidence of this debilitating disease has increased dramatically in recent years in Vermont and across the Northeast region. The Vector-Borne Disease Research Accountability and Transparency Act (HR 4701) would bring together federal health agencies, physicians and patient advocates to establish a working group to better coordinate the federal government’s response to this disease. It also requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a strategic plan that includes concrete benchmarks for progress.
“There’s no better place to be than in Vermont’s great outdoors. But the spread of Lyme disease is a real concern to those who enjoy Vermont’s natural beauty. There is an urgent need to know more about this debilitating disease and find effective ways to combat it,” said Welch. “This bipartisan bill is an important first step in understanding the cause of the disease and how best to respond to it.”
“For the past few years, I have worked with physicians, patient advocates, professional researchers, and patients and their families from throughout the Northeast and the United States on a bill that focuses on solutions,” said Congressman Gibson. “I want to thank these good citizens for their significant and persuasive engagement and unyielding commitment to change the direction of U.S. policy to bring solutions and relief for our chronic Lyme sufferers. I also want to thank my House colleagues, especially Congressman Peter Welch, for their support of this legislation. By working together, we were able to give a voice to those suffering.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that the number of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is approximately 300,000.
Source: Welch's office. 9.10.2014