Staten Island lawmakers push for CDC program tracking tick bites and diseases

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Staten Island lawmakers push for CDC program tracking tick bites and diseases
AJ Ross reports on the push to track tick bites and diseases.

ANNADALE, Staten Island (WABC) -- With seven recently confirmed cases of tick-borne diseases on Staten Island, lawmakers are aggressively seeking additional resources at the state and federal level.

"This is an issue that's become a bigger public health problem and it's the type of issue that are so important to be proactive for our community," Rep. Dan Donovan, (R) Staten Island.

At least one woman who visited Blue Heron Park on the South Shore is now suffering from spinal meningitis as a result of a tick bite.

"We are known as the borough of parks, but just be aware of the risks and take precautions," Rep. Donovan said.

Rep. Donovan outlined his cosponsored legislation to create a CDC program tracking tick bites and diseases.

It's an initiative similar to plans already in the works by the New York State Health Department to provide a public website allowing people access to tick collection and testing results.

"It will allow individuals to send images and basic information to a disease professional, and that professional would respond within 72 hours with information about the type of tick and the risk of what they may incur from that tick bite," Rep. Donovan said.

Assemblyman Ron Castorina is additionally pushing for more parks testing stations and says prevention and awareness can save lives.

"I had a niece last year that was bit by a tick, 4 years old, immediately went to the doctor immediately started a course of antibiotic and luckily it came back it was not a Lyme carrying tick, but it very well could've been and it certainly is very scary," Assemblyman Castorina said.