Tick season is kicking off early this year — experts warn of Lyme disease risk


A vaccine for Lyme disease is not currently available, but two scientific initiatives to fight the condition are showing promising results, with one soon to be rolled out.

Borrelia burgdorferi and, less commonly, Borrelia mayonii are the bacteria that spur Lyme disease. In the northeastern, mid-Atlantic and north-central US, Borrelia burgdorferi is spread primarily through the black-legged tick, also called the deer tick. In the Pacific Coast states, the western black-legged tick is the main culprit.

Ticks are fond of yards, wooded areas and low-growing grasslands. Depending on the location, less than 1% to more than half of the ticks in the given area are carrying Lyme disease bacteria, which they contract via biting infected white-footed mice.

Memphis-based US Biologic aims to solve the epidemic by going straight to the source and vaccinating mice via food pellets, and studies have shown the method holds promise.

Pfizer and French biotech company Valneva have developed a vaccine candidate — VLA15 — that’s already in Phase 3 human trials, the CDC said.

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