State panel would study immunizations for diseases

by Carol Thompson

The New York State Senate passed legislation last week that would create a panel to study the track record and emerging science of immunization and vaccines for Lyme disease, tuberculosis, HIV and Eastern equine encephalitis.

The bill, proposed by Senator Patty Ritchie, would create a “21st Century Workgroup for Disease Elimination and Reduction” within the Department of Health, comprising top experts in diseases, infection and public health, and charged with finding ways to push for the development of effective vaccines against EEE, Lyme disease, tuberculosis and HIV.

The bill, which has been referred to the state Assembly, would require the new panel within the state’s Department of Health to report annually on findings.

Lyme disease and EEE are insect borne disease. West Nile virus, another mosquito borne illness, is not referenced in the legislation.

The Oswego County Legislature has been attempting to raise public awareness of EEE and visitors to the back of the county office complex are greeted with a sign asking residents to be aware of the mosquito-borne disease.

EEE is a disease spread by mosquitoes that primarily infects horses, but is also responsible for five human deaths in Central New York in the past 30 years, including last summer’s death of four-year-old Maggie Sue Wilcox of New Haven.

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