According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States and is spread primarily by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis).
Also according to the CDC, Lyme disease affects 329,000 people in the U.S. each year and can cause severe damage to joints and the neurologic system. The CDC recently linked Lyme disease with several deaths due to cardiac disease caused by Borrelia.
Based on information published by the CDC and US Bureau of Labor Statistics the economic impact of Lyme disease due to direct medical costs, indirect medical costs, lost income, lost taxes, and related disease costs is calculated to exceed $3.54 billion annually.
There are several methods in use to prevent Lyme disease, including killing ticks and vaccinating pets. However, the available methods are ineffective in eliminating the disease, can be toxic to humans, and are expensive to distribute.
Recent scientific innovations have been proven to disrupt the transmission of Lyme disease in the wild. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (Abstract), the authors demonstrated that a vaccine pellet could be distributed to white-footed mice, the most prevalent “reservoir” of Lyme disease.
The evidence showed that the resultant antibodies would be ingested by ticks when feeding on the mice, and the ticks then showed a significant decrease in the amount of Lyme-causing bacteria in their bodies.
The authors note: “Implementation of such a long-term public health measure could substantially reduce the risk of human exposure to Lyme disease.”
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