Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is an infectious disease transmitted to man through the bite of a tick infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.
Lyme disease in Belgium
In Belgium the number of people testing positive in screening for antibodies to the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium varies from year to year.
These variations depend on several factors such as the number of ticks but also the number of tests carried out.
In 2013 and 2014….
Overall, we have not observed an increasing trend of Lyme disease in Belgium during the last 10 years.
Some figures for Lyme disease:
- in 2014, more than 2,000 positive test results were reported in Belgium
- in Belgium about 10% of ticks are infected
- following a tick bite the risk of developing Lyme disease is between 1% and 2%
- Lyme disease affects all age groups and particularly people between the ages of 45 and 65 years
- each year, about 10,000 people consult general practitioner for an erythema migrans, the most frequent sign of Lyme disease
- the highest number of positive test results are found in forested areas, in the provinces of Antwerp, Limburg, Brabant and in the Ardennes.
N.B.! These figures are subject to change, consult the website of Epidemiology of infectious diseases for the latest figures.
4 reasons for not being alarmed
- Not every bite is infectious (in Belgium only about 10% of ticks are infected).
- An infected tick does not necessarily transmit the bacteria.
- An infected person does not necessarily develop the disease.
- Lyme disease can be treated effectively with antibiotics if it is diagnosed in time.