U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer visited Dwyer Memorial Park in Little York this afternoon.
He used a lakeside backdrop to discuss the dangers of ticks and tick-borne diseases. The Senator suggested New York sees a higher percentage of Lyme Diseases cases because more people live here, and the state has a large deer population. The deer tick can carry Lyme and infect humans.
Schumer believes the Centers for Disease Control can do more to fight Lyme Disease.
He put his demand plainly, saying he was one of the Senate leaders who helped increase the CDC budget by $900 million, and some of the funding should be spent to find a treatment for Lyme, as well as a vaccine.
Schumer told reporters he wants some of the CDC funding used for educating doctors and the public about Lyme Disease.
He shared a story of being bitten on his right shin by a tick, and noticing the typical “bullseye” circles around the bite. Schumer says he got to the doctor early and medical treatment was successful.
Others are not as fortunate. Cazenovia College student Jamie Isaacs, 22, from Long Island spoke about her experience with Lyme Disease. She is an equine studies student and regularly works outdoors and with horses. Isaacs described many of the typical symptoms of the disease, including fever, pain and difficulty breathing. She told the Senator she hopes the CDC will use some of its additional funding to combat the disease.
Laurie Tebbe, of Marathon, suffers with chronic Lyme Disease, tracing it back to time on Long Island in 2006. Tebbe was nearly in tears as she described hearing and vision loss, pain in her bones, heart problems, autoimmune and neurological symptoms and nausea.
Tebbe says she often feels like she’s been “hit by a Mack truck.” She calls Lyme Disease a “lonely illness” that has negatively impacted her life.
Tebbe started the Cortland Lyme Support Group and has met many people through her work as an advocate. She told Senator Schumer she hopes health insurers will cover long term treatments.
Schumer pledged to investigate her suggestion, and says he expected a quick response from the CDC on his challenges.