Are there vac­cines for these dis­eases?

The Week (US) - - News 11 -

Only yel­low fever has a Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion–ap­proved vac­cine. There used to be one for Lyme too, called LYMErix, but it was taken off the mar­ket in 2002 af­ter a scare about its side ef­fects. Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies are work­ing on a re­place­ment— as they also seek vac­cines for Zika, West Nile, and oth­ers—but they haven’t yet suc­ceeded. Sci­en­tists are try­ing all sorts of other meth­ods to pre­vent bugs from spread­ing dis­ease. In one study, re­searchers tar­geted ticks by trick­ing their hosts—deer and mice—into brush­ing up against ma­te­ri­als con­tain­ing anti-tick chem­i­cals. For mos­qui­toes, the most promis­ing tech­nique ap­pears to be flood­ing the tar­get area with ster­ile or ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied males; then, when they mate, the fe­males don’t pro­duce vi­able off­spring. But whether any of these tac­tics will work on a large scale re­mains to be seen. For now, peo­ple just have to be care­ful in high-risk ar­eas: avoid walk­ing in long grass, where ticks lie in wait to climb onto pass­ing mam­mals; wear bug repellent and cover up as much skin as pos­si­ble; and search for—and re­move—ticks af­ter spend­ing time out­side. “This is one con­cern in life that’s pre­ventable by fol­low­ing some sim­ple guide­lines,” says David We­ber, an epi­demi­ol­o­gist at the Univer­sity of North Carolina. “So it’s worth tak­ing pre­cau­tions.”

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