Surveillance perspective on Lyme borreliosis across the European Union and European Economic Area

Lyme borreliosis (LB) is the most prevalent tick-borne disease in Europe. Erythema migrans (EM), an early, localised skin rash, is its most common presentation. Dissemination of the bacteria can lead to more severe manifestations including skin, neurological, cardiac, musculoskeletal and ocular manifestations. Comparison of LB incidence rates in the European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) and Balkan countries are difficult in the absence of standardised surveillance and reporting procedures. We explored six surveillance scenarios for LB surveillance in the EU/EEA, based on the following key indicators: (i) erythema migrans, (ii) neuroborreliosis, (iii) all human LB manifestations, (iv) seroprevalence, (v) tick bites, and (vi) infected ticks and reservoir hosts. In our opinion, neuroborreliosis seems most feasible and useful as the standard key indicator, being one of the most frequent severe LB manifestations, with the possibility of a specific case definition. Additional surveillance with erythema migrans as key indicator would add value to the surveillance of neuroborreliosis and lead to a more complete picture of LB epidemiology in the EU/EEA. The other scenarios have less value as a basis for EU-level surveillance, but can be considered periodically and locally, as they could supply complementary insights.
Source: Eurosurveillance - Category: Infectious Diseases Source Type: research

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