NY needs cash to fight tick-borne diseases, Schumer says

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is calling on the Centers for Disease Control to unlock a pot of $900 million in additional funding to fend off ticks this summer. He said that Long Island is eligible for and deserves that money.

"This is one place we don't want to be number one," Schumer said. "We're number one in Lyme disease and Long Island is number one in New York."

Ticks are responsible for about 50,000 reported illnesses in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC. The majority of those illnesses are Lyme disease.

As the weather gets warmer, the potential grows for this to be undoubtedly the worst tick season.

"We need to make sure people are educated," Schumer said. "We need to make sure doctors are educated."

Treatment, tracking, and prevention are key, Schumer said. Warning signs are posted at many Long Island parks and people are taking precautions.

Right now, Long Island has three types of ticks: deer tick, lone star tick, and American dog tick, experts said. But a newly discovered tick species known as the longhorn tick was seen in New Jersey last year. So far, the species hasn't been found on Long Island.

"It would be pertinent to figure out how to manage the three ticks we currently have in New York before this new invasive tick moves in," said Moses Curcura, an entomologist with Suffolk County Vector Control.

Increasing numbers of deer have helped the tick population grow over the years.