Diagnosing Lyme in the Nick of Time

Released on 01.22.2013

Lyme disease is on the rise nationwide yet current diagnostic tests are subjective and often inconclusive. That means sufferers can go untreated – increasing their chances for lifelong complications.

On Wednesday, February 6, College of Medicine infectious disease specialist Mollie Jewett, Ph.D. will present her research on developing new methods to improve early diagnosis of Lyme disease. The presentation is part of the college’s Luminary Series and will be held at the Interlachen Country Club, 2245 Interlachen Court, Winter Park, 32792. A reception begins at 5:30 p.m. and Dr. Jewett will speak at 6:30.

Lyme disease results from a bacterial infection spread through the bite of a blacklegged tick but because the ticks are so tiny, many sufferers never notice they had been bitten. The disease has been reported in almost every state. Tick bites and infection can occur when people are participating in popular outdoor activities, including gardening, hunting and hiking. You also can get Lyme disease from walking in high grasses or having a pet that may carry ticks into your home.

Untreated or late treated Lyme disease can cause long-term joint inflammation, heart and brain/nervous system problems.

As a microbiologist, Dr. Jewett is working to identify genes in B. burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. These genes allow the bacteria to grow and survive, and by identifying them, Dr. Jewett hopes to develop improved methods for diagnosing and treating the disease.

We hope you can join us at the first Luminary Series of 2013. Space is limited so please RSVP at comrsvp@ucf.edu or by calling 407-266-7787.

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