Ticks, diseases and vaccines

A vaccine is available from your doctor for protection against Lyme disease! You may have heard or read about this vaccine, called LYMrix, which is administered in a series of three injections over a twelve month period. The second dose is given a month after the first, and the third is given after a year, but protection can be less than l00%. It also requires an annual booster. It has not been approved for children under 15 and does not work well in people older than 70. And for heavens sake, keep on checking yourself for deer ticks each day, even if you are vaccinated.

this vaccine offers no protection against two other less common diseases that the deer tick can harbor-human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) and babesiosis. The signs and symptoms of these two diseases, as well as Lyme disease, initially include fever, chills, headache, and muscle and joint pain. There were only thirty cases of HGE and no cases of babesiosis in Minnesota in l998. Babesiosis is most often seen in people who have had their spleen removed or have their immune systems suppressed in some other way. Ehrlichiosis is treated with antibiotics and babesioisis (a protozoan infection) is treated with antimicrobial drugs.

The following map shows Lyme disease in Minnesota during l998 by county of exposure. If you spend time in an outdoor area where Lyme disease is indicated, you should check yourself for ticks each day. Your dog may also pick up ticks that could transfer to you, even though you have not been romping through the grass and brush. Informational brochures are available from the Minnesota Department of Health, telephone 612-676-5414.

Lyme Disease Map