Welcome to the Oxford Lyme Disease Conference
With our changing climate, tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease (caused by a spirochete bacterium, Borrelia), are no longer restricted to certain geographical areas, but are found in a wide range of habitats, and are becoming more prevalent. In fact, Lyme disease is one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in Western Europe and the USA. In the UK, the NHS estimates around 3000 cases diagnosed annually (probably under estimated by a third) with the highest number of cases being recorded in 2019. The number of Lyme disease cases reported in the USA are around half a million per year (costing ~$5 billion to the economy), and in Western Europe around 250,000 per year. These numbers are likely to be considerable underestimates due to varying diagnosis criteria, and also as they are based on centralised reporting. For example, in the USA, it is estimated that only 1 in 10 cases of Lyme disease are reported.
Clinical diagnosis of the disease is a particular problem due to its confusing symptoms, and the lack of reliable and sensitive laboratory tests. Despite the high and increasing incidence, a large disease footprint, and the debilitating impact it has on the patients’ lives, funding resources allocated to Lyme disease research are disproportionately low. Therefore, additional resources to advance research into new treatments and novel diagnostic methods, as well as for understanding the mechanisms of infection and the host responses to the infection are urgently needed. This one-day meeting is thus aimed at bringing together the various stakeholders involved in Lyme disease management, research, policy and funding, not only to discuss research advance in this field, but also to identify imminent focus areas for research and investment.
The key general thematic areas of the meeting include:
o Disease diagnosis
o Treatment options and therapeutics (including vaccines)
o Syndrome management
o Host immune responses
o Novel diagnostic methods and assays
o Funding opportunities
o Policy matters
In addition to invited senior faculty, we will also consider submitted abstracts for a small number of short oral presentations and posters. We particularly encourage final year doctoral students and early/mid career postdoctoral researchers/junior group leaders to submit oral abstracts, as we believe this event will provide their research excellent exposure, critical analysis and feedback by the attending senior researchers, and new career opportunities.
Please send your abstracts (250 words including affiliations of all authors) for consideration as short oral presentations or posters to ‘LymeOxford@gmail.com‘.
We look forward to your participation in the conference.
For regular updates follow this event on Twitter (@LPMHealthcare, #LymeOx20).