Studies show that 14 percent of the world’s population is infected with Lyme disease

According to a study released on Monday, more than 14 percent of the world’s population may be infected with Lyme disease.

The study, published in the journal BMJ Global Health, is the result of nearly 90 studies. This provides a more reliable picture of the prevalence of tick-borne diseases.

“As far as I know, this is the first global seropreventive activity,” the doctor said. Peter Krause, a senior researcher at the Yale School of Public Health, did not participate in the new study. Seroprevalence refers to the measurement of antibodies in the blood.

For the analysis, the researchers created a study that showed that humans have common antibodies to the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease. Of the more than 158,000 people who participated in these studies, about 23,000 had antibodies that indicated they were currently infected or had a history of infection.

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Europe and North America, but it is not equally prevalent around the world.

A new study shows that Central Europe has the highest incidence of Lyme disease – 21 percent – nearly 9 percent in North America. This is similar to Krause’s own study, in which 11 percent of people sampled in New England in 2018 were positive for antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi. In the United States, most cases of Lyme disease occur in the northeast and upper Midwest.

The new analysis included participants from Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe and North and South America. The lowest proportion of people with Lyme disease in the Caribbean is only 2 percent – an expected result given that the region is predominantly island nation.

“There are areas where there is no disease,” Krause said.

However, Lyme disease has become more prevalent over time: a new study found that between 2001 and 2010, about 8 percent of those surveyed had antibodies to Lyme disease. From 2011 to 2021, the share was 12 percent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of Lyme disease in the United States increased by 44 percent between 1999 and 2019.

The new analysis provides several explanations for the trend. Deer mites, which transmit Lyme disease to humans, prefer warm, humid climates. Rising global temperatures have led to longer summers and shorter winters, making them more abundant and widespread. Humans also attack mite forests.

The third reason, Krause said, is that the deer population has expanded, creating more opportunities for mites to feed and reproduce.

“Wherever there are deer, the number of ticks will explode.

Symptoms of Lyme disease

According to the CDC, about 70-80 percent of people with Lyme disease develop rashes at the site of a tick bite. Rashes usually appear 3 to 30 days after a bite and can grow up to 12 inches wide. It may feel warm to the touch, but it is usually not itchy or painful.

Other symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, and muscle or joint pain shortly after a tick bite; These can also affect rashes. There may be no signs of a minority, Krause said.

However, in more serious cases, people may experience severe headaches, stiff neck, nerve pain, dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath, arthritis, or sudden weakness or paralysis on one side of the face in the days or months after the bite.

“People experience fatigue episodes for a longer period of time and don’t feel well or get brain fog, but we don’t fully understand it,” Krause said.

Antibodies against the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi can be stored for at least 16 months, according to one study, and up to 10 or 20 years, according to another.

For those unfamiliar with Lyme disease, 14 percent may seem like a high level of infection, but Krause said the assessment didn’t surprise him.

“It’s not like,‘ Oh my God, there’s more pain than we think, ’” he said. “These numbers are a little higher than I thought, but it’s not a revolutionary discovery.”

Increase and decrease of Lyme disease vaccine

The best way to avoid tick bites is to stay away from areas where they are common: high grassy forests and shrubs. If you go to such an environment, Krause said, apply insect repellent and wear long pants and long sleeves tucked into socks.

“If you go to a forest, you have to check for ticks later,” he said.

People who have been bitten by ticks can look for antibiotics, but Krause says they don’t always eliminate the symptoms.

“It seems – at least there is some plausible evidence for this – that although Lyme’s body is killed by antibiotics, the body itself does not decompose well. It hangs dead.” he said.

He added: “We really need a vaccine. It’s the best hope for us to really control it.”

In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration approved a vaccine called LYMERix to prevent Lyme disease in clinical trials. but the GlaxoSmithKline, the developer of the vaccine, launched it in 2002.

“It worked, but the company stopped using it because there was a group of people who lied that it had been injected three times and caused arthritis,” Krause said.

According to Krause, another Lyme vaccine may become available in a few years. The Pfizer candidate showed early promise in tests.

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