The Alabama Lyme Disease Association Applauds Forward-Thinking Bill that creates the Alabama Commission on Tick-Borne Illness

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Governor Robert Bentley recently signed HB 253 to create the Alabama Commission on Tick-Borne Illnesses. In order to protect Alabama citizens from the debilitating, and potentially deadly effects of tick-borne diseases, the newly created Commission will coordinate research projects to study Tick-Borne illnesses that affect Alabama citizens.

With seven (7) Alabama counties now declared endemic for Lyme disease in Alabama, the potential for contracting a serious tick-borne illness in the State has become more evident. After seeing the devastation Tick-Borne diseases have caused in the lives of many Alabamians, Rep. Becky Nordgren decided to help those suffering and prevent others from being affected. She initially passed a resolution forming a temporary Tick-Borne Illness Study Commission; the Study Commission completed it's work and made recommendations to The Speaker of The House in December 2015; HB253 grew out of recommendations from the Study Commission.

HB 253 passed unanimously by bi-partisan vote in both Houses and was signed by Governor Bentley on May 13, 2016. The goal of The Commission is to coordinate research, and distribute funding for research, on the study of Tick-Borne Illness in Alabama and to make suggestions for the treatment of and reduction and eradication of Tick-Borne Illnesses in the state. Research may include methods of prevention, treatment, surveillance, diagnosis, risk prediction, outreach, and intervention of tick borne illness.

Rep. Nordgren says that, "This (new) Commission will move Alabama one step closer to becoming a leader in Tick-Borne Disease Research. Our hope is to better protect our citizens from the potential life threatening impact of Tick-Borne Diseases and to give hope to those currently suffering due to complications from chronic illness caused by tick-borne diseases."    

Kevin Wolfe, President of The Alabama Lyme Disease Association says that, "The new Commission encompasses Prevention, Treatment and Research; it is by far the most comprehensive plan that I have seen proposed anywhere, and it's right here in Alabama. With so many acclaimed medical research and treatments centers in Alabama and the Southeast, this can easily place Alabama at the top of the list of leaders in Tick-Borne Disease research, treatment and education worldwide".

Wolfe adds, "This year we've had a significant increase in calls from those seeking a diagnosis and/or treatment or have recently been bitten and are looking for answers. Unfortunately, we've found that many medical providers in Alabama are not able to make a proper clinical diagnosis based on symptoms. Delayed and/or missed diagnoses have led many patients in our state to develop Chronic Tick-Borne Illnesses which are significantly more difficult to treat than those caught early. Our hope is that the physician education programs established by the Commission will soon end delayed and missed diagnoses. We further hope that new research will uncover new ways to fully eradicate Chronic Tick-Borne Illnesses."

Read the full text of HB253 here:

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