Risks and Severity

Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is an infectious disease transmitted to man through the bite of a tick infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.

Risk factors

Ticks are principally active between the Spring and Autumn (from March to October) and they are generally found in wet and wooded regions with low-growing vegetation.

Uncovering one’s skin because of fine weather increases the risk of direct contact between the skin and the vegetation and increases the risk of being bitten.

Diagnosis and delayed treatment

If the diagnosis is not made quickly and the Lyme disease progresses to the stage of late manifestations, the effect on life can be more significant, since joint, neurological and cardiac symptoms can be very handicapping.

However, even at late-stage Lyme disease, treatment usually results in the improvement or disappearance of the symptoms.

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.

Sciensano ensures epidemiological surveillance of Lyme disease through a monitoring network of laboratories and general practitionersand a National Reference Centre  for Borrelia burgdorferi. 

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