(BPT) - With summer in full swing and COVID-19 restrictions easing up, many people are heading outdoors after over a year of being confined to their homes. Along with warmer weather comes tick season, especially if you live on the East Coast or in the upper Midwest where reports of ticks responsible for Lyme disease are more prevalent.
It is important to check for ticks after spending time in wooded areas, the grass or garden, as ticks can transmit a bacterial infection known as Lyme disease. Lyme disease, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks, is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. In fact, experts are predicting that this year may bring one of the worst tick seasons yet and are already reporting an increase in Lyme disease-related tick exposures across the country.
A bullseye rash is one of the hallmarks of Lyme disease, identified by a circular, expanding rash with target-like appearance, which can vary in size and shape. However, up to 30% of infected people never get a rash at the site of the tick bite. Other Lyme disease symptoms (fever, headache or fatigue) can be non-specific and even overlap with symptoms of many other common diseases or illnesses, like the flu or even COVID-19.
Early Detection Matters
About 300,000 Americans are affected by Lyme disease each year, but current tests only provide accurate diagnoses for about 30% of those that are newly affected. What’s more, current tests are less likely to capture a positive Lyme case at its earliest stages, which also happens to be when the disease is easiest to treat. Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis can increase the chances of more severe complications, like chronic joint inflammation, facial palsy, memory loss and/or irregular heart rhythm.
How You Can Get Involved
If you’ve recently developed Lyme disease, your immune system may provide information for earlier-stage detection of Lyme disease. To help advance new tests for Lyme disease, Adaptive Biotechnologies launched the ImmuneSense™ Lyme Study to better understand the body’s immune response.
You may be eligible to participate in the research study if you are exhibiting the bullseye rash. Participants have the option of completing study activities at a local clinical site or through a free mobile phlebotomy service and no-contact telehealth appointments.
Why Your Participation Matters
If left untreated, Lyme disease may 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 treatment and now there is an opportunity to help bring about new detection methods for this serious and often overlooked disease.
Find a Study Site
The research study is being conducted at multiple sites across the country, especially in regions where ticks are more prevalent like the East Coast and upper Midwest. Visit www.immunesensestudy.com to find out how to get involved with the research study and be part of the solution for better testing for Lyme disease. The test being studied is an investigational use only product.