lymedisease 081123SPRINGFIELD – To raise awareness of Lyme disease, one of the most underreported and dangerous vector-borne diseases, a new law championed by State Senator Laura Murphy will create the Lyme Disease Innovation Program.

“Every year, countless individuals face the challenges of living with Lyme disease,” said Murphy (D-Des Plaines). “By increasing awareness, we can break down barriers, dispel myths and ensure that those affected receive the support, empathy and resources they need to navigate this often invisible illness.”

The Lyme Disease Innovation Program will raise awareness of the disease through community-based education to encourage people to get treatment as soon as possible to prevent worsening effects. Early detection is vital in the treatment and leads to improved treatment outcomes. Often times the disease is misdiagnosed, which results in delays in treatment.

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.

“Lyme disease can have a profound impact on individuals and their families, affecting their health, daily lives and overall well-being,” Murphy said. “Education empowers individuals to recognize the symptoms, take preventative measures and seek proper medical care.”

Senate Bill 1803 was signed into law Friday.