USA (Harvard University) Seem like Lyme disease risk is getting worse? It is.
GAZETTE: What are symptoms of Lyme disease?
SHADICK: Early symptoms include the classic erythema migrans rash, which is a red, ring-like rash that spreads. This can develop within days or weeks, and sometimes a rash won’t occur at all. You can also experience a flu-like illness with a fever, headache, and achy joints. If not caught early, Lyme disease can progress to facial paralysis, arthritis, meningitis, or inflammation of the heart called carditis that can cause rhythm abnormalities. If you suspect Lyme disease, it’s important to seek treatment. The best way to recover quickly is to take antibiotics as soon as you can.
GAZETTE: In terms of research, are we making progress either in prevention or treatment of Lyme disease-related ailments?
SHADICK: A Lyme disease vaccine from Pfizer and Valneva is in a Phase 3 trial right now. We’re hopeful that the vaccine will be ready in 2025. The UMass Chan Medical School is also studying another potential therapy to prevent Lyme disease that is in clinical trials. This prevention is not a vaccine but a monoclonal antibody that kills the Lyme bacteria in the tick’s gut.
GAZETTE: Practically speaking, are there any resources or sites that you would recommend for people to learn more about Lyme disease and the risk it poses in their area?
SHADICK: There is a Harvard Health Lyme Wellness website that offers a lot of educational information. The CDC also has an excellent website for the general public and has a tick-borne illness reference manual for clinicians. Each state department of health typically has tick borne illness information and monthly reports on the illness.