Amber Butler, M.P.H, Lead Research Associate, Western Connecticut Health Network, talks Lyme Disease.
Amber says each year some 22,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme Disease in Connecticut. It is caused by a bacterial infection from the bite of an infected tick. WCHN crafted the first hospital Lyme Disease registry in the U.S. in 2010 to monitor cases in Connecticut. The name was recently changed to the Lyme Disease Biobank to reflect their new initiative to be at the forefront of Lyme Disease research.
Amber says the biobank has been a unique source of blood samples and will now also be a source of urine samples. She says researchers have developed a new urine-based Lyme test that may allow for the diagnosis of the disease in its early stages, possibly even before symptoms develop. Amber says the new test is needed because there are limitations to current testing methods which look at the immune system’s response to the disease rather than looking directly at the presence of the disease in the body.
Amber also says researchers at WCHN are developing a blood-based test which looks for the DNA of Lyme Disease -causing bacteria.