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Lyme Disease In Iceland?

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Lyme disease in Iceland – Epidemiology from 2011 to 2015

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Lyme disease is caused by an infection with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu latu (B. burgdorferi sl.) which is carried by Ixodes ticks. The disease has not been considered to be endemic in Iceland and no cases of Icelandic origin have been published. The epidemiology of Lyme disease in Iceland has never been studied. The objective of this study was to provide basic epidemiological information about Lyme disease in Iceland.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:

Included in the study were all patients who had a measurement of serum antibodies against B. burgdorferi sl. or were diagnosed with Lyme disease (ICD-10, A69.2) at Landspítali University Hospital in Iceland from 2011-2015. Clinical data regarding these patients was retrospectively collected from medical records and the database of the Department of clinical microbiology at Landspítali University Hospital.

RESULTS:

501 patients had a measurement of serum antibodies against B. burgdorferi sl. and 11 patients were clinically diagnosed with Lyme disease during the study period. 33 patients fulfilled criteria for a confirmed diagnosis of Lyme disease. 32 (97%) patients had erythema migrans and one (3%) patient had neuroborreliosis. An average of 6.6 cases were diagnosed a year (two cases per 100,000 persons/year). All cases originated abroad.

CONCLUSIONS:

Lyme disease is rare in Iceland. On average around 6 to 7 cases are diagnosed every year, primarily localised infections presenting as erythema migrans. None of the cases had a definitive Icelandic origin and the yearly number of cases has not been increasing.

Source: By Vigfusson HB1, Hardarson HS2, Ludviksson BR3, Gudlaugsson O4. [Lyme disease in Iceland – Epidemiology from 2011 to 2015]. Laeknabladid. 2019 Feb;105(2):63-70. doi: 10.17992/lbl.2019.02.215

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