How You Can Help Fight Lyme Disease

(Family Features) Summer means it’s time to check for ticks, especially if you have recently spent time outdoors, taking part in activities such as hiking, camping, gardening, dog-walking or more.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted to humans via infected ticks. A bull’s-eye rash is one of the hallmarks of the disease, but other symptoms can be non-specific and even overlap with symptoms of COVID-19. These include body aches, fever, breathlessness, eye pain, diarrhea, chest tightness, headache, fatigue or joint pain.

According to the Global Lyme Alliance, there are estimates of 427,000 new cases of Lyme disease in the United States every year. However, Lyme disease is often missed – or misdiagnosed – due to unreliable testing. In fact, only 30% of people with acute Lyme infections have a positive test result with existing diagnostic tests because the disease is difficult to detect in its earliest stages, even though this is when it is easiest to treat.

How you can get involved. If you suspect you have Lyme disease – or have been recently diagnosed – your immune system may be able to provide important information about how the human body detects and responds to the disease that current tests cannot.

To help advance new diagnostic tests for Lyme disease, Adaptive Biotechnologies, which specializes in developing products based on the body’s immune response to disease, has launched the ImmuneSense Lyme study.

You may be eligible to participate in the study if you have signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, including a bull’s-eye rash or body aches, or were recently diagnosed and have not taken antibiotics for more than three days. If you decide to participate, you can visit a participating doctor to have your blood sample collected.

Why your participation matters. If left untreated, Lyme disease can become a serious illness for many people, but if caught early, it can typically be treated with antibiotics and long-term complications can be avoided. Early detection is key for early treatment, and now there is an opportunity to bring forth new detection methods for this serious and often overlooked disease.

To learn more and find participating doctor’s offices, visit immunesensestudy.com.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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