If you like to play outdoors, chances are you have been bitten by a tick at some point in time. Over 30,000 people contract Lyme Disease each year in the US, double that in Germany alone. The Fraunhofer Institute believes they have come up with a gel that will prevent the contraction of Lyme Disease post tick bite.
Lyme Disease is caused by a bacteria called borrelia burgdorferi, carried in the gut of certain ticks. When these infected ticks attach to you or your pet and begin to feed, they may transmit this bacteria in the process.
Currently, most people wait until they see the signature bulls-eye rash before contacting their doctor about potential Lyme Disease. However, ticks don't always bite in places where you can see the skin and over 20%-40% of people who contracted the disease don't develop the early rash symptoms. Once contracted, Lyme Disease is very hard to treat.
The new medicated gel can completely prevent infection if applied locally to the tick bite area immediately after the tick has been removed. The gel must be applied within the first few days of the initial bite, before any symptoms would have a chance to appear.
The gel works because the bacteria stays right around the bite area for the first few days after initial contact. Azithromycin, the active ingredient in the gel, kills the bacteria locally in the skin, preventing the further spread of the infection.
The Lyme Disease gel is in the final stages of human clinical trials and if successful, will be out on the market soon.