"You can protect your dog in the U.S. against Lyme disease, but you can't protect you or your children with a vaccine."

Dr. Gregory Poland, director the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group, says there was a vaccine for humans, but it was withdrawn.

Gregory Poland, M.D., Vaccine Research Group, Mayo Clinic:

"The primary reason is there was immense antivaccine sentiment about the vaccine, much like we had with measles vaccine. It's illogical."

It's the bite of an infected blacklegged tick or deer tick that's responsible for making so many people sick with Lyme disease.

"There are probably about 300,000 new cases a year."

There are no plans at this time for a new Lyme vaccine in the U.S., but there is good news. A vaccine, VLA15, is being developed in Europe.

"They've been through phase 2 testing. Now they'll do phase 3 clinical testing, which means they go to the FDA, get approval, and they'll do very large studies."

Dr. Poland says it might take five years or more before a Lyme disease vaccine is ready for humans. Until then, it's important to be tick smart.

For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Ian Roth.

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Dec. 05, 2018