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Senator Ken LaValle Secures $75,000 In Funding To Aid The Fight Against Lyme Disease And Tick-Borne Illness On The East End

Ali Friedlander

Lyme disease is a problem that most Hamptons-goers are familiar with, as the beautiful natural lands of the East End unfortunately also provide an ideal habitat for ticks carrying the disease. However, major steps are being put forth to support the fight against the tick-borne illness as Senator Ken LaValle has secured a whopping $75,000 to aid Lyme disease prevention efforts.

Earlier this summer, Senator LaValle announced that $75,000 worth of state funding will be put towards fighting Lyme and tick-borne diseases on the East End, where the issue is especially pressing. Sneator LaValle is a member of the NY Senate Coalition Task Force on Lyme and Tick Borne Diseases, and has obtained the money in order for it to be used at Southampton Hospital's Tick-Borne Disease Resource Center. Additionally, a portion of the money will be used to increase awareness about these diseases among students.

"With the continuing high incidence of these tick-borne illnesses, we need to work to eradicate the diseases and end the transmission to individuals. Southampton Hospital's Tick-Borne Disease Resource Center has led the way in educational outreach for the public on both the North and South Fork," Senator LaValle said. "Additionally, they support programs for elementary-aged children to make them more aware of the issues, have run medical symposia on the topic, and are participants in a National Institute of Health study for diagnosis of the Lyme disease. I am pleased that we are able to gain state support for these vital programs."

"The public need for education and access to diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne illness continues to grow on the East End," added Robert S. Chaloner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Southampton Hospital. "We are grateful for Senator LaValle's assistance in obtaining a NYS grant of $75,000 for the second year in a row. This funding will continue the mission of Southampton Hospital's Tick-Borne Disease Center to provide the best possible information and to promote collaboration within the medical community on the North and South Forks."

Because of the work on Senate Bill S5804 that Senator LaValle co-sponsored, age-appropriate education materials about this issue will also be coming to schools to help students gain the knowledge of how to readily identify ticks and therefore help prevent the spread of Lyme disease. Educational materials will be available for free upon request at schools and libraries. Senator LaValle said, "It's important that the state take an active role to assure that our children are well informed about prevention measures and the effects of these illnesses."

Senator LaValle is a Co-chair of the Senate Coalition Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases. He has noted that over the past three years, the state has invested $1.7 million dollars for research, education and tick-borne disease prevention efforts.

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