Washington, DC –Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) has cosponsored H.R. 5900, the Tick-Borne Diseases Control and Accountability Act. This legislation is designed to remove barriers to and improve the effectiveness of federal tick-borne disease programs in developing the tools to prevent, diagnose and treat Lyme and other tick-borne diseases (TBD).

“Unfortunately, the northeast is the epicenter of the Lyme Disease epidemic with over 90 percent of confirmed Lyme disease cases being reported from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “This legislation builds off my work in the 21st Century Cures Act by creating a structure for coordination and strategy to combat tick-borne diseases. I will continue working in Congress to ensure we are strengthening our ability to combat debilitating diseases like Lyme.”

Congresswoman Stefanik cosponsored legislation to establish a Tick Borne Disease Advisory Committee, which was included in the 21st Century Cures Act and signed into law. This legislation builds on that effort to prevent and treat Lyme disease.

Background: The bill creates a new structure for oversight and coordination of all TBD activities, including a new national TBD strategy, and provides for the enhancement of federal activities relating to the diagnosis, surveillance, prevention and research of TBD.  The bill provides for coordination with the official HHS TBD Working Group created by the 21st Century Cures Act.

Legislative Specifics: This bill establishes the Office of Oversight and Coordination for TBD (TBD Office) to oversee the creation and updating of the national strategy developed in Sec. 4, oversee all HHS TBD activities, and incorporate the report of the official HHS TBD Working Group. Sec 4. requires the Secretary or a designee to develop and submit to Congress a strategy for the conduct of Lyme and other TBD activities, including budget requirements, an assessment of all federally funded programs and activities, and strategies for improving diagnosis, prevention and treatment, for improving patient outcomes, and for improving coordination and partnerships among federal agencies and other entities. The bill also requires the Secretary, in coordination with the TBD Office and acting through CDC, FDA, NIH, other HHS agencies to conduct certain activities and to coordinate all HHS programs and activities related to TBD, to non-infectious disorders caused by ticks and to the expanding threat of Bartonella.