Outdoor Life Online Editor

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a vaccine that can greatly decrease the potential of contracting Lyme disease. LYMErix, manufactured by SmithKline Beecham, should be available at local health clinics and through private physicians in all 50 states. The vaccine is administered in three shots-the first two doses one month apart and the third a year later. The vaccine has been tested to be 50 percent effective after the second shot and nearly 80 percent effective following the third. LYMErix has been approved for use by people 15 to 70 years of age; pediatric tests are still underway for a vaccine for children. Even with the vaccine, sportsmen should not dismiss the threat of ticks. “Continue to take the same precautions as if you weren’t vaccinated,” says Dr. Michael Caldwell, a Lyme disease expert, “especially since ticks can carry other diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis, both of which can be fatal.” Because LYMErix is genetically engineered from a surface protein of the spirochete that causes the disease and not from infected animals, you cannot contract Lyme disease from the vaccine. The protein alone stimulates the body to produce the needed antibodies.