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