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November 22, 2019

10/19/2019 7:30:00 AM
Senate passes package to combat Lyme disease
Abigail Bostwick
Of the Lakeland Times

With Lyme disease continuing to affect Wisconsin residents, the state Senate has passed a package of laws aimed at reducing the impact of tick-borne illnesses.

The number of Lyme disease cases has more than doubled in the state in the last decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Wisconsin also had the fourth-highest number of cases among all 50 states in the nation during 2017. That total came in at just under 1,800 cases.

The recently passed bills - dubbed the "Bite Back" bill package - call for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to post Lyme disease warnings near all state and land parks. They also would need to offer insect repellant at staffed state parks and forests. Further, the DNR would need to include educational information relaying the dangers and prevention tactics of Lyme in their state park brochures, in addition to running an annual Lyme disease public awareness campaign.

Further, the bill would create a tick-borne disease study committee comprised of 19 members.

The Senate passed the measures unanimously and the Assembly is set to review the package yet this year.

"There is a lot more to be done, but it is a start for community awareness," observed Connie Campbell, clinic program director at the newly opened Woodruff-centered Tick Borne Illness Center of Excellence.

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