Authors: Martha Powell, Future Science Group
A recent study has suggested that in the UK, new cases of tick-borne Lyme disease could be three-times higher than previous estimates, possibly exceeding 8000 cases in 2019.
Lyme disease has become the most common tick-borne disease in many parts of Europe and the USA, and rates have been increasing in recent years. Higher incidence of Lyme disease in neighbouring countries prompted speculation that the reported annual number of UK cases, which are estimated at 2000–3000, could be lower than the reality.
This study, published in BMJ Open, explored this further by anonymizing medical information submitted to the Clinical Practice Research Datalink between 2001 and 2012. This database covers approximately 8% of the UK population, totalling 8.4 million individuals from 658 clinical practices.