Is it a Lemon or a Lyme?
A Case Study on the Decision to Vaccinate or Not
Department of Biotechnical and Clinical Laboratory Sciences
University at Buffalo
This dilemma case was designed for a junior level immunology course. It could also be used in a microbiology or bacteriology course where the emphasis is on treatment as well as disease. Although the case revolves around a particular microbe that causes Lyme disease, the central question is “Should a person get vaccinated given the associated risks and benefits?” Students are assigned to one of five groups that cover the epidemiology, etiology and pathology, prevention and treatment, laboratory diagnosis, and vaccine for the disease; each group is given a question to research, which they then present on to the rest of the class.
- Judge the relative risk of developing Lyme disease in various regions, at different times of the year, and with different activities.
- Discuss the pathologies caused by the bacteria in Lyme disease.
- Compare the signs and symptoms of the various stages of Lyme disease.
- Describe the etiology of Lyme disease.
- Evaluate appropriate treatment for patients with each stage of the disease and potential adverse side effects of treatment.
- Describe laboratory assays, including PCR, Western blotting, enzyme immunoassays, and immunofluorescent assays.
- Describe the vaccine protocol as well as the efficacy, risks, costs, and benefits of the vaccine.
- Realize that health care decisions should be made after obtaining the knowledge needed to make an informed decision.
KeywordsLyme disease; vector-borne infectious disease; spirochete; spirochetal disease; bacteria; Borrelia burgdorferi; deer tick; Ixodes scapularis; Ixodes pacificus; insect; vaccine; vaccination; LYMErix
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, Graduate, Public & informal education
Type / MethodsDilemma/Decision, Problem-Based Learning, Student Presentations
Subject HeadingsEpidemiology | Microbiology | Public Health |
Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.
Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.