State News

U.S. House approves Gibson-Welch legislation to tackle Lyme disease

Washington, D.C.–Tuesday evening, Sept. 9, the House of Representatives approved by a voice vote legislation authored by Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) 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 (H.R. 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,” said Welch. “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.”

“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.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year.

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