Analysis Shows Nearly 15% of the Global Population Likely Has Lyme Disease

Yang Dong, et al. reported on the results of a study that was designedBorrelia Burgdorferi to estimate seroprevalence and sociodemographic characteristics of Borrelia Burgdorferi Sensu Lato (Bb) in human populations, globally. The results, published in BMJ Global Health, consist of the systematic review and meta-analysis of numerous relevant studies culled from PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and other sources.

After applying a protocol that has been registered with PROSPERO and analyzing 137 studies that took place through December 30, 2021, the researchers assessed that the global Bb seroprevalence was 14.5% and that the top three regions of Bb seroprevalence were Central Europe, Eastern Asia, and Western Europe.

Further meta-regression analysis revealed that after removing contradictory risk factors, the methods were deficient in western blotting (WB) confirmation and heightened the risk of false-positive Bb antibody detection when correlated with procedures that used WB testing to confirm. Additional characteristics linked with Bb seropositivity included age (≥50 years), residing in rural areas, and suffering tick bites. It was also found that males have higher seropositivity rates.

The researchers conclude that the estimated global Bb seropositivity is comparatively high and propose that using the WB to confirm Bb serological results can significantly enhance the accuracy of diagnosis. Additional research is necessary to determine a more accurate estimate of the Lyme borreliosis burden on a global scale.

Read the full study in BMJ Global Health.

Read more about the burden of Lyme disease in the U.S.