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Epidemiology of Lyme borreliosis in French-speaking Switzerland.


The purpose of this study was to assess the number of cases and the clinical aspects of
Lyme borreliosis in French-speaking Switzerland. From July 1996 to December 1997, all laboratories performing serological tests for
Lyme borreliosis sent a questionnaire to the treating physicians whenever the tests were positive. In addition, the physicians who diagnosed a case on clinical grounds only were also asked to report these cases. During this period, 1460 positive serological tests were recorded among approximately 10,360 performed (14%). A total of 775 questionnaires were returned (53%). In 3/4 of the cases, the test was ordered because of an acute clinical manifestation or a tick bite. The rest related to chronic symptoms or follow-up. In 504 cases (65%), diagnosis was considered certain or probable. These were erythema migrans in 46%, clinical manifestations of stage II in 33% (26 facial palsy, 20 acute arthritis, 5 benign cutaneous lymphocytoma) and chronic symptoms in 21% (23 acrodermatitis, 26 neuropathies, and 8 arthritis). The adjusted incidence, estimated on the basis of the treating physician’s place of residence, ranged from 9/100,000 in Valais to 95/100,000 in Neuchâtel. This study indicates that
Lyme borreliosis is a diagnosis frequently looked for and established in French-speaking Switzerland. Although erythema migrans is the main clinical manifestation, symptoms of stage II and III indicate that
Lyme borreliosis is also responsible for relatively major systemic morbidity.

Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 2000 Oct 14;130(41):1456-61. English Abstract [1]