Lyme Disease Outbreaks

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Last reviewed
October 17, 2023
Content Overview
Lyme disease areas are located in the USA, Europe, and the United Kingdom in 2023.

Lyme Disease Outbreaks 2023

Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis) is a bacterial disease transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks. Lyme disease is common in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Ticks transmit at least 20 different disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites to people, such as Lyme disease. The risk of contracting a tickborne infection and Lyme disease is determined by the number of ticks in an area, the proportion of those carrying the bacteria, and human behavior, such as walking in tick-infested fields. A study found the overall risk of developing Lyme borreliosis after a tick bite was 2.6% (95%CI 1.4–5.1).

From 2018 to 2022, a longitudinal study found the 51-to-60 age group made up 23.5% of Lyme disease private insurance claims in the U.S., followed by those aged 41 to 50 (18.8%), according to an infographic from FAIR Health in October 2023. In June and July, Lyme disease diagnoses were more common in rural than urban areas. Source: FAIR Health’s FH NPIC® database of more than 42 billion privately billed healthcare claim records.

During the past 15 years, Lyme disease diagnoses in the U.S. increased by over 300% in rural areas and 65% in urban areas, according to data released by FAIR Health in 2022. As of May 9, 2023, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a Lyme disease case map for the U.S. Each year, state and local health departments report cases of Lyme disease to the CDC through a passive reporting system, the Nationally Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS). A recent estimate based on insurance records suggests that approximately 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated yearly for Lyme disease. The top states in 2022 were Wisconsin, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. In 1977, the first 51 cases of Lyme arthritis were described, and the Ixodes scapularis (black-legged) tick was linked to the disease transmission in Lyme, Connecticut.

Lyme Disease Outbreaks U.K.

In the U.K., the Health Security Agency says Lyme disease-carrying ticks are most active in the spring and summer months when the weather warms up but can be found all year round. Around 3,000 cases of Lyme disease are estimated to be diagnosed in England annually.

Lyme Disease Outbreaks Europe

A review published in April 2023 showed substantial variability in reported Lyme Borreliosis incidence across and within European countries, with the highest incidences reported from the Eastern, Northern (Baltic states and Nordic countries), and Western Europe surveillance systems. The World Health Organization Europe says the number of Lyme disease cases in Europe has increased steadily, with more than 360,000 cases reported over the last two decades. Central Europe has the highest Lyme disease incidence reported by the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, and Slovenia. According to data released from Poland on April 24, 2023, 2,753 Lyme disease cases (a 93% increase) and 47 cases (a 236% increase) of tickborne encephalitis have been reported.

Lyme Disease Testing

IGeneX introduced, on April 18, 2023, culture-enhanced PCR testing (cePCR™) for all of the significant tickborne illnesses. 

PrecisionVaccinations publishes Lyme disease vaccine news.