A bill co-sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine — called the TICK Act — that would devote $100 million to combat Lyme disease is being included in the appropriations bill that Congress passed on Tuesday.

If President Trump signs the $1.4 trillion spending bill into law, the $100 million would be spent in $20 million increments over the next five years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would award grants to state health departments to “improve data collection and analysis, support early detection and diagnosis, improve treatment and raise awareness,” Collins said in a news release. “These awards would help states build a public health infrastructure for Lyme and other tick and vector-borne diseases and amplify their initiatives through public-private partnerships.”

Spread by deer ticks, Lyme disease is a persistent public health issue in Maine, with more than 1,400 cases in 2018 and 1,162 cases in 2019 through Monday. That’s a substantial increase from a few hundred cases per year in the mid-2000s.

“With a national effort the TICK Act would establish, we can stop the spread of these devastating tick-borne illnesses and protect our health,” Collins said in the statement.
The White House said Tuesday that Trump will sign the measure.

Paula Jackson Jones, president and co-founder of Maine’s Midcoast Lyme Disease Support and Education, said the TICK Act is an important step forward.

“With funding available for research and education, we can get medical providers on the same page not only with improved diagnostic tools but better, more effective treatment options for their patients,” Jackson Jones said in a statement.


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