The temperatures are rising in Virginia, which means the chance of getting bit by a tick and contracting Lyme disease is also on the rise.
“There isn’t currently a vaccine for Lyme disease,” Grace Royster with Pediatric Research of Charlottesville told The Daily Progress. But her organization is trying to change that.
There are roughly 30,000 cases of Lyme disease reported in the U.S. every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children between the ages of 5 and 15, who are more likely to play outdoors in the grasses where Lyme-carrying ticks live, are also more likely to get bit, the CDC says.
Lyme disease typically causes fever, fatigue and rash. If left untreated, though, it can spread to a person’s heart, lungs and nervous system. While rare, the disease can be fatal. Roughly a dozen people have died worldwide since 1985 from the heart condition called Lyme carditis that the disease can produce.
Royster is helping coordinate a study with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to develop a vaccine.
Pediatric Research of Charlottesville’s study will last two years.
“They’re looking at whether the vaccine is safe,” Royster said.
It consists of four shots and six visits to the clinic, she said.
While already in its third phase, Pediatric Associates of Charlottesville is looking for at least 35 more children between the ages of five and 17 to participate in its study.
Those interested in enrolling their children can email Royster at email@example.com.