033023CM0307SPRINGFIELD – To raise awareness of Lyme disease, one of the most underreported and dangerous vector-borne diseases, State Senator Laura Murphy is creating the Lyme Disease Innovation Program.

“I hope that by bringing forth this proposal more people will learn how to spot tick bites and the symptoms of Lyme disease,” said Murphy (D-Des Plaines). “Illinoisans need to know the dangers of this disease.”

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterial infection transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick. Symptoms include fever, headache and skin rash. If Lyme disease is not treated, the infection can spread to the heart, nervous system and joints.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30,000 Americans report being infected with Lyme disease each year, but there could be as many as 300,000 cases annually as it is vastly underreported.

Senate Bill 1803 would create the Lyme Disease Innovation Program. This program will be appropriated by the Lyme Disease Awareness Fund, which will be financed through the sales of Lyme disease Awareness Stamps for Off-Highway Vehicles, and will raise awareness of the disease through community-based education to encourage people to get treatment as soon as possible to prevent worsening effects.

“Lyme disease can be treated if caught early,” Murphy said. “Lyme disease does not only affect hikers and hunters. People can also become infected in their homes by mice carrying infected ticks.”

Senate Bill 1803 passed the Senate on Wednesday it now goes to the House for further deliberation.