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Klobuchar calls for swift action against Lyme disease

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Susan Collins (R-ME) called on the Administration to take swift action to prevent and respond to Lyme disease.

A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that diagnoses of Lyme disease are 10 times higher than cases reported annually.

Klobuchar and Collins wrote to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius last week, urging the agency to use all available resources to improve diagnostic tools and ramp up efforts to prevent the spread of the disease. Earlier this year, Klobuchar and Collins urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to alleviate a shortage of a drug used to treat infectious diseases like Lyme disease.

"This report underscores the need to take action to better prevent and respond to Lyme disease," Klobuchar said. "We need to do everything in our power to expand and boost efforts to ensure that the public, health care providers, educators and others are doing everything possible to prevent the spread of this disease."

"According to our state epidemiologist, the number of Maine residents diagnosed with Lyme disease continues to increase each year," Senator Collins said. "This alarming new report from the CDC illustrates just how widespread this disease actually is and makes clear the immediate need for improved diagnostic tools and prevention efforts."

Both Minnesota and Maine have high incidences of tick-borne illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2011, 96 percent of Lyme disease cases were reported from 13 states, including Minnesota and Maine. The CDC's new report indicated that the number of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is approximately 300,000 - 10 times higher than the 30,000 cases reported annually.