Getting Answers: Agawam exterminator takes part in Lyme disease vaccine trial for rodents
AGAWAM, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The first Lyme disease vaccine licensed for mice has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help prevent the disease’s spread and a local exterminator will be one of the first to give it a try.
“People don’t realize that they are the largest mover of Lyme disease in the Northeast,” said Bob Russell.
Entomologist Bob Russell is talking about mice, rodents commonly seen outside and sometimes even inside homes known for carrying diseases like Lyme disease and insects. Soon, a product will be out that can help protect you and your family from Lyme disease.
It’s called Lyme Shield, the first Lyme disease vaccine licensed for mice, mice eat the pellets coated with the vaccine filled inside this dispenser.
Russell told Western Mass News he will be trying out the product soon and helping families feel safe in their yards and homes.
“This represents a totally different approach in treating ticks,” said Russell. “You’re going to have mice out there that are going to pick up the ticks but they’re not going to be the Lyme disease reservoir to spread it to thousands of ticks that will end up in people’s homes on people.”
We also sat down with Chris Przybyszewski, the president of U.S. Biologic, the company responsible for the product. He credits the original innovation to a veterinarian who realized it would be pricier and take longer to approve a human vaccine. So, preventing ticks from getting infected could be effective.
“Diseases globally usually start in animals, 75 percent of all emerging diseases, start in animals,” said Przybyszewski. “If we’re going to get serious about public health, and about pandemic and endemic diseases like Lyme, we’re going to have to address these at the animal level.”
Russell said his company will be installing these for customers when they receive the product in a few weeks.
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