News stories about vaccines have been rampant over the last 18 months. Will a new Lyme disease vaccine end the need for tick control?
There is a lot of media buzz surrounding the Valneva-Pfizer Lyme disease vaccine trials. What will it really mean if the drug reaches imminent approval from the Food and Drug Administration? There will be a few key points to consider if the vaccine gets a green light. What is the potential for public hesitancy? For those, who do take the vaccine, will there be a need for continued public education regarding tick control and personal tick protection?
Will Fear About the Vaccination Outweigh the Need for Protection Against Lyme Disease?
According to analysis of privately billed health care claims from 2007 to 2021, Lyme disease cases increased 65% in urban areas and 357% in rural areas of the United States. The CDC estimates that there are up to 476,000 cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. annually. There is an enormous need for protection against this tick-borne illness. As the numbers rise, the need for Brentwood tick control becomes even more critical than the vaccine outlook itself.
Especially today, grave concern and fear seems to be escalating as more and more people seriously consider tick control. Even though there is an accepted Lyme disease vaccine for dogs on the market, the previous human vaccine failed due to anecdotal side effects.
To review, the Nobivac Lyme vaccine for dogs went on the market in 2009. This vaccine is recommended for dogs, which are at high infection risk from tick bites. That means dogs, who live in areas with large deer tick populations, like Nashville.
In Nashville alone, there are as many as 15 different tick breeds, but the most common are the deer tick, the Lonestar tick, and the dog tick. These Nashville ticks are most often found in heavily wooded areas and tall grasses, and most often crawl up from the ground rather than drop from branches. Young ticks are very small – about the size of a poppy seed, while adult ticks can be around the size of an apple seed.
While Merck’s studies show the vaccine to be more than 99% safe, pet owners are still uncertain about allowing their dogs to get it. Will we be receptive to a Lyme disease vaccine for humans? When can we expect to see a Lyme disease vaccine? Good question. Here is what we now know.
Pfizer has started a late-stage clinical trial to test a vaccine that aims to protect against Lyme disease, the drugmaker announced on August 8, 2022. If Pfizer’s trial succeeds, the vaccine could be the first human inoculation available for Lyme disease in the U.S. in two decades. Only one other vaccine for the disease, LYMErix, has been used in the country, but it was discontinued in 2002.
Pfizer said it aims to enroll approximately 6,000 healthy adults and children 5 and older in the phase 3 trial, which will evaluate whether the vaccine is safe and effective. This Pfizer protein-based vaccine, called VLA15, is a three-dose regimen, administered over a five-to-nine month period, followed by a booster dose 12 months later. It targets Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The company is developing the vaccine in concert with French biotech firm Valneva. But until this becomes a reality; responsible and dependable tick control is our best defense against the threat and spread of Lyme disease.
Brentwood Tick Control is Not Solely for Lyme Prevention.
Brentwood tick control is a serious necessity, even if we greatly reduced Lyme infections, because ticks spread more than Lyme.
People who have suffered a Lone Star Tick bite often wind up with alpha-gal syndrome (AGS) and typically report allergic reactions, from hives and stomach troubles to full-on anaphylaxis, hours after eating pork or beef. The symptoms might seem random for individuals who have never had issues with meat in the past, but scientists have identified a common thread: the Lone Star Tick. For some afflicted with AGS, alpha-gal syndrome, it has the potential to induce a serious anaphylactic reaction, which must be treated IMMEDIATELY.
Another tick control situation centers on the threat of the Powassan virus. According to the CDC, Tennessee is one of many states, which has not yet had one confirmed case of the tick-borne illness, known as Powassan virus or POWV. Surveillance from 2011 through 2020 illustrates that the northeast and upper Midwest are the most at risk, but that doesn’t mean that Brentwood residents should not worry about this potentially fatal disease. Our neighbors in North Carolina reported one confirmed case during the surveillance period, and that case too, resulted in a fatality.