Sen. Susan Collins speaks to reporters after presenting at Fruit Street School on Jan. 10.

PORTLAND, Maine — Two U.S. senators want the federal government to implement new measures to protect people from tick-borne diseases as soon as possible.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota authored and advocated for passage of the Kay Hagan Tick Act, which was signed into law last month. The proposal is designed to strengthen research, prevention, diagnostics and treatment for tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease.

Incidence of tick-borne diseases has more than doubled in the U.S. from 2004 to 2018. Collins and Smith have called on U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to put the new law into action soon. The proposal requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop a national strategy about the diseases.

The Kay Hagan Tick Act is named after Sen. Kay Hagan, who died last year from Poawassan virus, a tick-borne disease.