The Clinical Research Center at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute is looking for more people to participate in a national effort to collect samples to improve Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment.

Lyme disease occurs after being bit by a tick, commonly referred to as the deer tick here in Wisconsin. Symptoms include fever, headache, achiness and a bullseye or red, expanding rash.

“We need to get samples so researchers across the country can conduct research to find better treatments for this,” said Pam Mundt, Research Institute certified clinical research coordinator.

Participants must be age 10 years or older with an untreated bullseye or other Lyme disease rash, or a suspected case of Lyme disease without a rash. The diagnosis must be new or in the early stages. It can be you or someone you know. A blood or urine sample will be collected. This year, Clinical Research Center is looking for 50 people with Lyme and 50 controls, or people who do not have a history of Lyme. People suffering from long-term effects of Lyme currently are not eligible, but may be in future years.

The samples will go to the Lyme Disease Biobank Foundation for testing and storage, and researchers all over the country will apply to use the samples in their research. The Biobank also is allowing for additional samples to be put on hold for future research at the Research Institute.

“I think this is a great opportunity for us to learn more about Lyme disease in our state, as well as to contribute to an effort to better understand the disease across the country,” said Anna Schotthoefer, Ph.D., principal investigator on the project. “In fact, samples collected for the study are already being used by numerous researchers who are working on new diagnostic tests for Lyme disease.”

The summer is a peak time for Lyme, and it is very common in Wisconsin. However, there is still a lot to be learned about the disease in the Midwest.

“When we sat in on the site initiation visit, and they pulled up a map of where the disease is, it really showed up in New York and the east,” said Lisa Larson, Research Institute certified clinical research coordinator. “We thought it was all over the Midwest too, but there’s no research on this part of the U.S. We want to be able to provide that research for this area.”

Researchers from across the Health System will help, including Minocqua, Wausau and Weston centers, and Marshfield Medical Center and Marshfield Medical Center-Eau Claire.

Participants will get a $50 stipend for participating. If you are a case and give a sample again two months later, you will get another $50 stipend.

For more information, call Marshfield Clinic Research Institute at 715-389-5738.