Help fight Lyme disease by taking this survey

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When you want to drive change, numbers count. Especially when you're talking about Lyme disease — a poorly funded, endlessly controversial illness affecting thousands of Connecticut residents. But you can help by taking a quick online survey.

Despite its 40-year history and heart-wrenching stories of patient suffering, Governor Dannel Malloy dropped all funding for the BLAST Lyme Prevention Program from the state's 2016 budget. This latest setback to the illness only added to Lyme Connection's interest in proving Connecticut residents deserve relief from this endless epidemic.

The need for numbers connected the Ridgefield-based nonprofit with SmartRevenue, a global research firm. That partnership has led to recognizing the role Western Connecticut Health Network's Lyme Disease Registry could play in collecting data for protecting communities. When the team decided to tackle prevention, entomologist Dr. Neeta Connally joined the project — linking Western Connecticut State University's Tick Research Lab with the project.

What are they finding? Preliminary results showed respondents are frustrated in their search for information about tick-borne diseases and rarely receive prevention guidance from medical professionals. This first bit of data inspired the group to look for creative ways to fill that void.

Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi launched the first project in April, building a Model Community Response to End Lyme Disease, which the town plans to share with all communities.

Next, the Ridgefield Library announced it will embark on a two-year schedule of authors, prevention experts, patient support programs and children's activities all related to tick-borne diseases.

Of course, Lyme disease is a problem throughout Connecticut, so please help by taking this survey to add your voice to this initiative to eradicate Lyme disease here and everywhere: .