Rep. Smith: Federal funding for tick-borne diseases is a 'joke'
After a litany of failed-attempts, Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th District) says he has no plans on giving-up the fight to get chronic Lyme disease recognized both federally and within the medical community.
Rep. Smith has introduced legislation every year since 1992 on the need to strengthen efforts to fight, treat and prevent tick-borne disease.
In 2017, more than 427,000 cases of Lyme disease nationwide were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are about 50,000 cases reported annually in New Jersey.
Smith says the lack of federal attention to eradicate Lyme disease is a scandal. He feels those involved should be held accountable, either civilly or criminally.
The congressman spearheaded a working group consisting of Lyme-literate doctors, patients, and researchers, including those from the CDC -- who initially didn't recognize chronic Lyme disease before the results of a report that found that of all the diseases that are federally funded -- Lyme and tick-borne diseases are dead last when it comes to research.
"We spent a mere $12 million at the CDC for all tick-borne disease including Lyme. That's a joke,” says Rep. Smith. “People get sick because of the lack of federal attention."
Rep. Smith has been fighting for his bill to pass. Incidentally, his daughter was diagnosed with Lyme disease about five years ago.