June 26, 2022

Subject: Lyme Disease, an Invisible Health Crisis of CNY

Central New York is at the center of a growing health crisis. Nearly half of our communities’ ticks carry bacteria causing Lyme disease, which can involve multiple organ systems like the heart and brain, leaving those infected with devastating chronic disabilities. Between 2008-2018 (latest data), tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease in CNY increased 439%.

Odds are, if you live here, Lyme disease has affected either you or someone you know. We’ve heard recently in media about it, from the TODAY Show to 9WSYR’s “Tiny Terror: The Truth About Ticks” by news reporter Nicole Sommavilla.

We know where ticks breed and live, how to identify and remove them and how to reduce our risk of being bitten by covering our skin in high-risk areas. But for all that we know, there’s much more that we don’t. How to maximize public awareness? How to reach medical providers continuing to fall short in making timely diagnoses or treatments? How to increase funding for research on ticks and diseases they cause, and how to best diagnose and treat patients? Finally, how to reduce the stigma following people suffering from long term medical conditions after infection?

The CNY Lyme and Tick-borne Disease Alliance is working diligently on answers, and we need your help. We are a not-for-profit partnership trying to make CNY safer by promoting research, education, environmental engagement and improvement in clinical care. Please join us in raising awareness and sharing information about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Visit us at https://cnylymealliance.org.


Board of Directors, CNY Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease alliance

Barbara Connor, MD, Cayuga County staff physician

Danielle Cummings, Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse

Joseph Hardick, CPA, CCIF, Dannible & McKee

Michael Jennings II, Brackens Financial Solutions Network

Shantina Hines Kyles MS, BSN, RN, Spinal Cord Injury Program Manager

Wes Kufel, PharmD, BCIDP, SUNY Binghamton School of Pharmacy

Brian Leydet, MPH, PHD, SUNY-ESF

Ryan Maness, MultiState Associates

Anne Messenger, Women Presidents’ Organization

Kristopher Paolino, MD, MTM&H, FACP, SUNY Upstate Medical University

Christine Paul, Madison County Rural Health Council

Georgina Pinckney, Tick-Borne Disease Advocate

Emilija Postolovska, MPH, M.S. Hall & Associates

Kathy Ruscitto – Board Member and Advisor

Michelle Saya, RN, BSN, MSM, SUNY Upstate Medical University

Simone Seward, MPH, SUNY Upstate Medical University

Saravanan Thangamani, PhD, SUNY Upstate Medical University

Stephen J. Thomas, MD, Institute for Global Health and Translational Sciences

Douglas E. Wojcik, DVM, Liverpool Animal Hospital