Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
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Executive Order 01-09
November 6, 2001


WHEREAS, the Department of Health has collected disease reports on the incidence of Lyme disease in Rhode Island since 1982, and has had a case surveillance system for Lyme disease from 1991 to 2000; and

WHEREAS, the University of Rhode Island has developed and maintains a statewide vector surveillance system that provides data on the density of the tick population in the state. The data shows a strong correlation between the incidence of disease and the abundance of ticks; and

WHEREAS, this surveillance demonstrates that Rhode Islanders have a disproportionately high rate of Lyme disease compared to residents of most other states/ with the highest rates of Lyme disease occurring in Washington County; and

WHEREAS, this surveillance also demonstrates a trend toward an increased incidence of other, rarer tick-borne infections; and

WHEREAS, the Rhode Island departments of Health and Environmental Management and the University of Rhode Island have an active public information campaign intended to prevent Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Environmental Management has responsibility for managing state lands, including state parks, where control of tick populations and prevention of Lyme disease is important for both staff and visitors; and

WHEREAS, the diagnosis of Lyme disease may be delayed or missed, leading to prolonged illness, and the treatment of prolonged illness with Lyme disease remains somewhat controversial, creating substantial public concern among the citizens of Rhode Island; and

WHEREAS, given current limitations on the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, prevention is the most effective weapon in fighting infection; and

WHEREAS, the prevention of Lyme disease and other tick-bome diseases is best accomplished by a combination of medical, personal protection, and environmental management intervention.

NOW THEREFORE, I LINCOLN C. ALMOND, by virtue of the power vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, order as follows:

1. There is hereby established a Governor's Commission on Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Bome Infections.

2. The Commission shall examine data on Lyme disease and other tick-bome infections that lead to human disease, hold hearings and receive testimony from medical, public health and environmental experts, along with members of the public.

3. The Commission shall consist of eighteen (18) members appointed by the Governor as follows: the Governor's Chief of Staff who shall serve as Chairperson of the Commission; the Director of the Department of Health; the Director of the Department of Environmental Management; a representative of the Coastal Resources Management Council; two (2) representatives of environmental advocacy groups; two (2) representatives of municipal government who by virtue of occupation or specialized training have an interest in the control of tick-bome diseases; two (2) members of the faculty cf che University of Rhode Island with environmental tick control expertise; two (2) practicing physicians with interest and expertise in treating Lyme disease; two (2) medical school faculty with expertise in infectious disease; two (2) persons with expertise in epidemiology and public health; one (1) member of the House of Representatives and; one (1) member of the Senate.

4. The Commission may form such subcommittees as it deems appropriate.

5. The Commission shall make its written recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly by March 1, 2002.

This Executive Order shall take effect immediately upon the date hereof.

So Ordered:

Lincoln Almond