WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today announced that more than $3.5 million will be awarded to 10 institutions for new research on Lyme disease. The studies are designed to improve understanding of the disease and to examine new methods for testing, prevention, and control.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread through the bite of an infected tick. It is the most prevalent vectorborne infectious disease in the United States, with more than 23,000 cases reported in 2002.
"We know that early diagnosis is crucial to enable prompt treatment to prevent long-term complications from Lyme disease," said Dr. James M. Hughes, director of CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases. "These awards will lead to improvements in surveillance, clinical testing, tick control and community-based prevention programs."
Brief descriptions of the studies along with the names of the principal investigators and institutions are included below:
Diagnosis, Immunology and Pathogenesis Research
Diagnosis and Pathogenesis of Early Lyme Disease, Allen C. Steere, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. The goals of this project are to improve the accuracy of serodiagnostic testing for Lyme disease, and to identify bacterial and host factors that lead to more severe disease. Laboratory markers for patients who would benefit from more intensive treatment may be developed.
Pathogenesis of Lyme Borreliosis in the Rhesus Monkey, Mario T. Philipp, PhD, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans. This proposal will advance understanding of the effects of Lyme disease on the central nervous systems. Mechanisms of neural injury will be determined using primate cells in culture.
Analysis of pgf 54 Members in Lyme Disease Serodiagnosis, James A. Carroll, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh. This study will identify and evaluate proteins that vary as Lyme disease bacteria cycle between ticks and mammals. These variably expressed proteins will be evaluated in diagnostic tests and as vaccine candidates.
Innate Immunity in Vector-Borne Lyme Borreliosis, Linda Bockenstedt, MD, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. This study will explore factors that contribute to susceptibility to infection. It also will examine the characteristics of Lyme disease bacteria that are "crippled" by antibiotic treatment.
Lyme Disease Diagnosis with Host Gene Expression Arrays, Ira Schwartz, PhD, New York Medical College, Valhalla, N.Y. This investigation will examine how cells from mice and humans respond to infection by Lyme disease bacteria. Gene expression that changes with infection will be monitored using a technique called microarray analysis. New diagnostic tests for active infection may be developed based on these changes.
Spatial Risk Model for Ixodes scapularis-borne Borrelia, Durland Fish, PhD, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. This project will lead to the development of a GIS-based surface map of the population density of nymphal ticks and prevalence of Lyme disease spirochete infection to estimate human infection risk in the eastern United States.
Assessing Community-based Tick Control for Lyme Disease Mitigation, Thomas N. Mather, PhD, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, R.I. This proposal will assess and evaluate tick control attitudes and practices before and after implementing an aggressive community outreach program for tick control in Rhode Island. A comprehensive training manual for implementing community-wide tick control programs throughout the Northeast also will be developed.
Control of Ixodes scapularis, Eddy A. Bresnitz, MD, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Trenton, N.J. This investigation will test integrated pest management strategies, assess effectiveness of a sustained deer reduction program, and evaluate effectiveness of broad-scale, seasonal acaricide (pesticide against ticks) applications to reduce tick populations and Lyme disease incidence in New Jersey. In addition, educational materials on tick management to improve tick control practices in New Jersey will be developed.
Community-based Prevention Programs
A School-Based Intervention to Reduce Lyme Disease, Nancy Shadick, MD, MPH, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of an efficient, cost effective, school-based intervention program in reducing the incidence of Lyme disease in endemic areas.
Prevention of Lyme Disease in Connecticut. Matthew Cartter, MD, MPH, Connecticut Department of Public Health, Hartford, Conn. This study will evaluate the effectiveness of integrated prevention measures to reduce the risk of Lyme disease in the United States, and will evaluate the costs of these interventions in relation to the number of cases prevented.
Source: Department of Health and Human Services