Donovan, Castorina Call for Response to Tick-Borne Diseases
Staten Island, NY – August 30, 2017….Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) and Assemblyman Ron Castorina today called attention to a number of tick-borne disease cases that local residents attribute to tick bites from local parks. At least seven South Shore residents have recently confirmed tick-borne diseases, including one whose illness developed into spinal meningitis. The lawmakers stressed families should continue to enjoy Staten Island’s parks, but asked that they take appropriate preventative measures and check themselves and their children for ticks.
Donovan said, “Tick-borne diseases are becoming a bigger public health issue, and it’s important for every level of government to respond appropriately. That’s why I cosponsored legislation to create a CDC program to track tick bites, tick-borne diseases, and educate the public about the risks associated with different types of ticks.”
Castorina said, “Staten Islanders are plagued with a serious health issue, as tick-borne illnesses are becoming more and more common. I will respond appropriately, at the state level, to combat the outbreak of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. In 2018, the New York State Department of Health plans to unveil a website, enabling general public access to their tick collection and testing results. Keeping a record of the spread of such diseases makes it easier to devise effective policies to combat this growing public health concern.”
In July, Donovan cosponsored legislation with Rep. John Katko (NY-24) to combat the rise in tick-borne illnesses. The bill would create a pilot program through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish a tick identification initiative. The program would allow individuals to submit photos of ticks and basic information about time and location of the siting or bite. A qualified professional would then respond to the individual within 72 hours with information about the risk of tick-borne disease, recommendation for next steps, and how to avoid ticks and prevent the spread of tick-borne illnesses. The program would also maintain a database of reported tick bites and tick-borne diseases.
In June, Castorina held a press conference at Conference House Park raising awareness for the growing concern of tick-borne illnesses. He stressed the importance of precautionary measures in combating the spread of such diseases. Assemblyman Castorina intends to introduce legislation, at the state level, which would spread awareness, advocate for prevention, and stimulate research for control of tick-borne illnesses.