Tick-Borne Disease

Lyme Disease

According to the CDC, Lyme disease affects 476,000 people in the U.S. each year. Further, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recently announced that Lyme disease is a “$50 to $100 billion-dollar problem for the United States…”. Lyme disease can cause severe damage to joints and the neurological system and has been linked to deaths due to Lyme-induced cardiac disease. According to the journal Science, “Lyme disease–carrying ticks are now in half of all U.S. counties.”

How is Lyme Disease Spread?

The only known species that can spread Lyme disease is the black-legged tick (i.e., Ixodes scapularis), also known as the "deer tick". The tick contracts Lyme disease mainly from the white-footed mouse (i.e., Peromyscus leucopus). Ticks are always dangerous and present throughout the year, though they are most active during the summertime.

Pellets with Hands for Website 7.4.2019

Vaccinate Mice & Prevent Infection at the Source

Scientists from CT, NY, PA, and TN have developed a new solution: an orally delivered vaccine targeting those mice. Non-infected mice cannot spread the infection to ticks.

The vaccine technology has been tested for over 10 years. According to a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (abstract), the authors demonstrated the vaccine pellet technology reduced the number of infected ticks by 76% in field conditions. The study authors state:

Implementation of such a long-term public health measure could substantially reduce the risk of human exposure to Lyme disease.

This vaccine pellet approach could be complemented by an integrated tick management program that includes mouse and tick-reduction programs, such as those currently employed by pest-management professionals. The program further will be guided by a predictive analytics toolset called ZooHUB, which is currently being developed by US BIOLOGIC and several partners.


Williams SC, van Oosterwijk JG, Linske MA, et al. Administration of an Orally Delivered Substrate Targeting a Mammalian Zoonotic Pathogen Reservoir Population: Novel Application and Biomarker AnalysisVector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2020 Mar 26. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2019.2612.

Stafford KC 3rd, Williams SC, van Oosterwijk JG, et al. Field evaluation of a novel oral reservoir-targeted vaccine against Borrelia burgdorferi utilizing an inactivated whole-cell bacterial antigen expression vehicle. Exp Appl Acarol. 2020 Feb;80(2):257-268. doi: 10.1007/s10493-019-00458-1.

Gomes-Solecki M, Arnaboldi PM, Backenson PB, et al. Protective Immunity and New Vaccines for Lyme Disease.
Clin Infect Dis
. 2019 Oct 17. pii: ciz872. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciz872.

Zatechka S. Reservoir-Targeted Vaccines as a One Health Path to Prevent Zoonotic Disease. Int J Vaccines and Vaccination. 2016;6(2). doi: 10.15406/ijvv.2016.02.00049.

Gomes-Solecki M. Blocking pathogen transmission at the source: reservoir targeted OspA-based vaccines against Borrelia burgdorferiFront Cell Infect Microbiol. 2014;4:136. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2014.00136.

Meirelles Richer L, Brisson D, Melo R, et al. Reservoir Targeted Vaccine Against Borrelia burgdorferi: A New Strategy to Prevent Lyme Disease TransmissionJ Infect Dis. 2014 Jun 15;209(12):1972-80. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiu005.

Meirelles Richer L, Aroso M, et al. Reservoir targeted vaccine for Lyme borreliosis induces a yearlong, neutralizing antibody response to OspA in white-footed miceClin Vaccine Immunol. 2011 Nov;18(11):1809-16. doi: 10.1128/CVI.05226-11.

Gomes-Solecki MJ, Brisson DR, Dattwyler RJ. Oral vaccine that breaks the transmission cycle of the Lyme disease spirochete can be delivered via baitVaccine. 2006 May 15;24(20):4440-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2005.08.089.