Currently, there are no effective vaccines available for the presentation of Lyme disease. The only preventive efforts present includes “guiding” humans to avoid tick bites. However, the strategy is completely ineffective as there are 300,000 diagnosed cases of Lyme disease annually in the United States. Now, leading public health experts have convened over prevention challenges in Lyme disease and highlights were published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. The paper defines strategies for effective vaccine development.
"Lyme disease vaccination is an individual's personal choice," the authors note. "The concept of personal immunization against a non-contagious disease versus widespread vaccination to prevent the spread of a contagious infection should be part of public education and discussion."
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"Countermeasures such as vaccines are needed to stem the growing number of cases per year," said Dr. Steven Schutzer, a senior author on the paper and physician-scientist at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. "This is extremely important because you can get Lyme disease more than once."
Lyme disease is a result of a bacterium--Borrelia burgdorferi—transmitted via blood through the bite of an infected tick. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system.
"We can envision the development of hybrid vaccine strategies targeted both to the offending microbe and to its tick carrier to prevent Lyme disease." said Dr. Maria Gomes-Solecki, lead author of the paper and a researcher at University of Tennessee. "It is a two-prong approach."
"Lyme disease has been a recurring topic for our meetings, and we're now seeing significant outcomes from those discussions," says Dr. Rebecca Leshan, Executive Director of the Banbury Center. "I expect the concepts laid out in the current paper will also have a real impact and help people at risk for Lyme disease."
Source: Science Daily