The spread of Lyme disease

Lyme disease is the most common infectious disease spread by a vector (in this case, ticks) in North America and Europe.

In Western European countries, the number of new cases per 100,000 people per year varies from 0.001 in Italy to 632 in Sweden 1.

In Bavaria, Germany, between 2013 and 2020, a total of 34,558 cases were registered, with an average of 34.3 new cases per year per 100,000 inhabitants.

The spread of Lyme disease

Estimates in the United States suggest that there are between 296,000 and 376,000 new cases annually 2, 3. These figures are even acknowledged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 4.

In Europe, assuming a yearly average of 22.4 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, this equates to 167,619 new cases.

Because statistics may underestimate the actual number of new infections and prevalence, models have been developed to provide a more accurate approximation.

In Europe, such a study showed an incidence of 2,670,000 cases per year and a prevalence of 13,510,000 cases 5.


1. Vandekerckhove, Olivia, Emmy De Buck, and Eric Van Wijngaerden. "Lyme disease in Western Europe: an emerging problem? A systematic review." Acta Clinica Belgica 76.3 (2021): 244-252.
2. Nelson, Christina A., et al. "Incidence of clinician-diagnosed Lyme disease, United States, 2005–2010." Emerging infectious diseases 21.9 (2015): 1625.
3. Hinckley, Alison F., et al. "Lyme disease testing by large commercial laboratories in the United States." Clinical Infectious Diseases 59.5 (2014): 676-681.
4. https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/humancases.html
5. Cook, Michael J., and Basant K. Puri. "Estimates for Lyme borreliosis infections based on models using sentinel canine and human seroprevalence data." Infectious Disease Modelling 5 (2020): 871-888.

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