GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Lyme disease, caused by the spiral-shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), is the cause of more than 90 percent of all arthropod-borne diseases affecting humans in the United States. Arthropods are a group of animals that includes lobsters, crabs, ticks, spiders, mites, insects, centipedes, and millipedes. Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that 300,000 people each year are affected by Lyme disease. Total direct medical costs of Lyme disease and post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) in the United States are estimated at $1.3 billion per year.
Recognizing the already notable reputation of University of North Dakota’s biomedical research enterprise, the federal government just authorized a $10.7 million grant to a group of scientists based at UND’s School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) to dig deeper into the many questions surrounding infectious agents.