Taking a shot at Lyme disease

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VITAL SIGNS

WASHINGTON Has fear of ticks kept you off the trails? Fret no more. The first vaccine to prevent Lyme disease is on its way.

Last spring an advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration recommended approval of the vaccine, known as Lymerix; the go-ahead could come later this year. In studies of nearly 11,000 people, Lymerix cut the chance of infection by 80 percent. Researchers say that anyone who spends lots of time outdoors in areas where Lyme-carrying ticks are common--the Northeast, the northern Midwest, California, and Oregon-ought to consider being vaccinated.

Interested? Ask your doctor, but don't be in a rush: You'll need three shots over 13 months.

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Vital Signs by Christie Aschwanden, Susan Freinkel, Rachele Kanigel, and Evelyn Strauss.

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