Lyme disease, or borreliosis, is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged deer tick. It is the most common tickborne infectious disease in the United States.
Why Is the Study of Lyme Disease a Priority for NIAID?
State health departments reported 27,203 confirmed cases and 9,104 probable cases of Lyme disease to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2013.
How Is NIAID Addressing This Critical Topic?
NIAID has a long-standing commitment to conduct research on Lyme borreliosis, or Lyme disease, beginning more than 20 years ago when the cause of the disease was not yet known. In 1981, NIAID-funded research efforts resulted in identifying Borrelia burgdorferi, a spiral-shaped bacterium, or spirochete, as the causative agent of Lyme disease (Science 216: 1317, 1982). Since then, basic and clinical research efforts have been expanded in scope to address many different aspects of this infectious disease. Read more about how NIAID is addressing Lyme disease.