14.5% of global population has contracted Lyme disease
June 14, 2022 - More than 14% of the world’s population has had Lyme disease, a common tick-borne illness, according to a major new research paper.
A new study from BMJ Global Health highlights a major rise in cases of Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne illness, that can cause skin rashes and flu-like symptoms.
The bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), which causes the disease, was found in the blood of 14.5% of 160,000 study participants.
Based on previous research, data shows that cases have doubled in the last 12 years, most likely due to longer drier summers brought about by climate change, which in turn has led to greater animal migration through habitat loss.
Those most at risk are farmers and workers who experience regular exposure to host animals like dogs and sheep.
Central Europe has the highest rate of infection at 20.7% – with men over the age of 50 living in rural areas most likely to contract the illness.
People bitten by an infected tick often suffer a rash and flu-like symptoms including muscle and joint pains, headache and nausea.
Lyme disease is rarely fatal, but in severe cases, symptoms can return months or even years later.