NY State Senate passes bill in a bid to educate students about Lyme disease

The New York State Senate passed a law on Thursday according to which the state Education Department would need to develop teaching materials and educational tools on Lyme disease and other diseases spread through tick bites. The move aims to ensure that students at school are being taught about this disease, which could be difficult to treat. The material generated by the department could be used by schools at no cost.

The bill was passed by Assembly last month, and now it is waiting for the approval from head to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to get finalized. The bill would demand state officials from the departments of health and environmental conservation to help the Education Department in their efforts to developing curriculum and materials for students. The material will be centered to spread awareness among students about the risks of ticks and prevention measures to avoid illness caused by them.

In the nation, with the areas with highest concentration of tick-borne illnesses include the Hudson Valley. On the other hand, in the state, Dutchess County has the highest rates of Lyme diseases. Neighboring Columbia and Ulster counties have been ranked first and second for the highest number of Lyme cases per capita in the country. The measure passed the Senate last year and in last month was passed by the Assembly.

“Because our children spend so much time exploring the outdoors, and because they may not know how to identify a tick, let alone alert their parents should they find one, they are especially vulnerable when it comes to contracting Lyme and tick-borne diseases”, said Sen. Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park, Dutchess County, who sponsored the measure. Awareness regarding the disease is seen as necessary step to control it.

A report published in Poughkeepsie Journal revealed, “The state Senate on Thursday passed legislation that would require the state Education Department to develop teaching materials and educational tools on Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. The materials will be made available to schools free of charge.”

“Because our children spend so much time exploring the outdoors, and because they may not know how to identify a tick, let alone alert their parents should they find one, they are especially vulnerable when it comes to contracting Lyme and tick-borne diseases,” said Sen. Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park, Dutchess County, who sponsored the measure.

“Raising awareness about the prevention, risks and signs of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases is essential to fighting this devastating epidemic in our region and across the state,” Barrett said in a statement.

“It’s the height of tick season, which means people should take extra care to prevent the spread of Lyme disease — not just to people, but also to their dogs,” according to a news report published by WZZM13.

Lyme disease, as well as another tick-borne ailment called anaplasmosis, can be just as harmful to dogs as to humans. Symptoms can include fever, joint pain, lethargy, loss of appetite, neurologic disorders and difficulty walking. Lyme disease may also cause kidney damage and can be fatal if left untreated.

Dr. Jamie Resnick, a senior emergency clinician for BluePearl Veterinary Partners, urged dog owners to be especially watchful if their pets become feverish or start to limp, especially if they limp on different legs at different times. A dog with those symptoms should be taken to the family veterinarian or to an emergency veterinarian.

According to a story published on the topic by CBC, “A Saint John woman maxed out her credit cards and had to sell her home after resorting to costly U.S. medical care for long term treatment of Lyme disease.”

I had to stop treatments in March, but I maxed out all my resources. I ran out of money … I now live with my daughter and I just work enough to try to keep the credit card people away from me,” Searle said this week in an interview with Information Morning Saint John.

“I’m trying to find somebody to sign off on my prescriptions so I can have them back again, but so far no luck.”

After three years of continued pain, she sought out a naturopath in Nova Scotia who ordered tests for Lyme disease. A blood sample sent to California turned up a positive result, she said.

At the time, Searle found no medical support in New Brunswick, so she turned to a doctor in Maine to have her illness treated.

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