R 222
2001-S 959
Enacted 5/23/2001

S  E  N  A  T  E     R  E  S  O  L  U  T  I  O  N


Introduced By:  Senators Paiva Weed, cicilline, Walsh and T. Coderre Date Introduced:  May 23, 2001

WHEREAS, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection which is spread by certain arthropods, primarily deer ticks, and is one of the fastest growing public health problems in Rhode Island; and

WHEREAS, Lyme disease was first described in Germany in 1883, the first U.S.-acquired case was described by a Wisconsin physician in 1970; and

WHEREAS, Over 159,000 cases of Lyme disease have been reported since 1980, with the actual number of cases being closer to millions of people across the country; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island has had 5,254 reported cases of Lyme disease since 1980 which represents only a fraction of the people affected by the disease in this state, and Rhode Island has the second highest incidence of Lyme disease per 100,000 people in the United States; and

WHEREAS, Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose because there is no reliable test that can prove who is infected to prove a patient has become bacteria-free; and

WHEREAS, Lyme disease imitates other conditions and is therefore often misdiagnosed; and

WHEREAS, Lyme disease is most easily treated as soon as the tick bite or symptoms occur, and is more difficult to treat if not discovered before dissemination occurs, and for some may not be curable; and

WHEREAS, Lyme disease-carrying ticks can be found in a variety of habitats in Rhode Island-including woods, parks, beaches, and yards; and

WHEREAS, Infected ticks can be carried into out-of-habitat areas by a wide variety of animals and birds, and infect people in those areas; and

WHEREAS, If untreated, Lyme disease, can affect every body system resulting in neurological disorders, including, but not limited to, chronic and severe fatigue, encephalitis, meningitis, cognitive dysfunction and memory loss, dementia and seizures; severe arthritis; cardiac dysfunction; vision loss; gastrointestinal disorders; paralysis; strokes and death; and

WHEREAS, Lyme disease bacteria can cross the placenta and possibly affect fetal development; and

WHEREAS, Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases such as ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, tularemia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are bound by no seasonal limitations - ticks transmit the diseases year-round, and patients suffer year-round; and

WHEREAS, A single tick can be infected with more than one infectious agent leading to patients being co-infected with different combinations of tick-borne diseases which complicates diagnosis and treatment; and

WHEREAS, Pets (cats, dogs) and livestock (cows, horses, goats) can also be infected with Lyme disease as well as other tick-borne diseases; and

WHEREAS, The best prevention against these diseases is tick-reduction property management, tick-bite prevention, and proper tick removal; and

WHEREAS, Prevention measures can significantly help reduce the number of people who have the disease, no one control method offers a perfect solution to all tick-borne diseases; and

WHEREAS, Awareness through education is essential to making the general public, health care professionals, employers, and insurers more knowledgeable about the seriousness of tick-borne diseases and more compassionate toward patients and their families; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby proclaims the month of May, 2001 as "Lyme Disease Awareness Month" in the State of Rhode Island.

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