This article is part of the Research Topic Novel approaches to vaccine development


Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol., 12 February 2013 | doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2013.00006

Vaccination against Lyme disease: past, present, and future

  • 1Division of Bacteriology and Parasitology, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Covington, LA, USA
  • 2Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA

Lyme borreliosis is a zoonotic disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato bacteria transmitted to humans and domestic animals by the bite of an Ixodes spp. tick (deer tick). Despite improvements in diagnostic tests and public awareness of Lyme disease, the reported cases have increased over the past decade to approximately 30,000 per year. Limitations and failed public acceptance of a human vaccine, comprised of the outer surface A (OspA) lipoprotein of B. burgdorferi, led to its demise, yet current research has opened doors to new strategies for protection against Lyme disease. In this review we discuss the enzootic cycle of B. burgdorferi, and the unique opportunities it poses to block infection or transmission at different levels. We present the correlates of protection for this infectious disease, the pros and cons of past vaccination strategies, and new paradigms for future vaccine design that would include elements of both the vector and the pathogen.

Keywords: Lyme disease, vaccine, reservoir, vector, tick, Ixodes scapularis, Borrelia burgdorferi

Citation: Embers ME and Narasimhan S (2013) Vaccination against Lyme disease: past, present, and future. Front. Cell. Inf. Microbio. 3:6. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2013.00006

Received: 06 November 2012; Accepted: 20 January 2013;
Published online: 12 February 2013.

Edited by:

Lisa A. Morici, Tulane University School of Medicine, USA

Reviewed by:

Maria Gomes-Solecki, The University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, USA
Jose Ribeiro, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, USA

Copyright © 2013 Embers and Narasimhan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Monica E. Embers, Division of Bacteriology and Parasitology, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, 18703 Three Rivers Road, Covington, LA 70433, USA. e-mail:

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