Subscribe to the World's Most Popular Newsletter (it's free!)
The development of an effective vaccine for
Lyme disease represents a major advance in the control of the most prevalent vector-borne
disease in the United States. It has a definite place in the total approach to control of this
disease. Its use should be restricted to individuals who are at moderate to high risk of exposure to infected vector ticks. Vaccinated individuals should not be complacent about other personal protection measures, because the vaccine is not uniformly effective and protective antibody levels decay rapidly. Booster doses will be necessary, but the intervals have not yet been determined. There is a theoretical concern about the possible induction of inflammatory arthritis through an autoimmune mechanism, but there is no evidence that this condition has clinical relevance. The impact of the current lawsuits on vaccine recommendations and use remains to be determined. Continued surveillance for rare long-term side effects should address the medical risk issue. Alternative primary vaccine administration schedules are currently under study, and could lead to regimens permitting achievement of protective immunity in 6 months or less. Vaccine is not approved for use in children under the age of 15 years.