Honoring Lyme Disease Awareness Month with a Multi-Year Plan to Change the Lyme Disease Status Quo

As part of Lyme Disease Awareness Month this May, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the to Change the Lyme Disease Status Quo.

The Multi-Year Plan includes five years of goals, impacts to date, and future activities to move the needle on Lyme disease and tickborne diseases with Lyme disease patients at the core of the HHS innovation process. Launched in 2018, the HHS Lyme Innovation initiative harnesses the power of collaboration, data-driven innovation, and emerging technologies to address the serious threats of Lyme disease and other tickborne illnesses.

Lyme disease is the vector-borne disease in the United States with approximately 63,000 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2022. But reported cases tell only a portion of the story: approximately 476,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the United States each year. Due to shifting land use patterns, global travel and trade, and a changing climate, the threat of existing and emerging tickborne diseases continues to grow.

“The HHS Lyme Innovation initiative has made groundbreaking progress accelerating patient-informed innovations for diagnostics, treatment, and care,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science and Medicine, Leith J. States, MD, MPH, MBA, FACPM. As described in the Multi-Year Plan, HHS Lyme Innovation is a broad umbrella of methods with innovation and partnership activities.

On-going efforts will continue advancing Lyme disease diagnostics, open data for Lyme Innovation, human-centered design for Lyme Innovation, and scientific understanding of .

The Multi-Year Plan aligns with the (Vector-Borne Disease National Strategy), published earlier this year. The first interagency effort of its kind, the Vector-Borne Disease National Strategy identifies and describes federal priorities to detect, prevent, respond to, and control diseases and conditions caused by vectors in the United States.

HHS and CDC are leading execution of the strategy in consultation with agencies across the federal government. Successful implementation of the Vector-Borne Disease National Strategy depends on strong collaboration within the government and with external partners. On May 23, 2024, HHS will present updates on the Vector-Borne Disease National Strategy via livestream at .

Moving the needle on Lyme disease will require continued collaboration, support, leadership, and excellence in innovation and implementation. Collaboration within and outside of the federal government is necessary to protect the nation and save lives. Government transparency is a priority for the HHS Lyme Innovation Initiative, which rests on a foundation of open science, open data, and open innovation.

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