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The aim of this study was to define the risk of developing
Lyme borreliosis after a tick bite. A survey was conducted from 1993 to 1995 in the western part of Switzerland in a group of patients who presented for treatment of a recent tick bite. Only patients with negative serological tests (enzyme-linked fluorescent assay screening test, and IgG and IgM immunoblots) at the first consultation and for whom a second blood sample was available 2 months later were included in the study. Of the 376 patients included, 266 had no clinical manifestation (group 1) and 110 had a small local cutaneous reaction (<2 cm) (group 2). The tick was available for 160 patients. Seroconversion was observed in 4.5% of 376 patients, 3.4% in group 1 and 7.2% in group 2. Typical erythema migrans, confirmed by seroconversion, was observed in three of 376 (0.8%) patients, while five of 376 (1.3%) patients developed a skin lesion without seroconversion. No other clinical manifestation of
Lyme borreliosis was observed among these 376 patients. Borrelia detection in ticks did not correlate significantly with the risk of
Lyme borreliosis. In conclusion, the risk of developing
Lyme borreliosis in western Switzerland after a tick bite is low, and therefore, prophylactic antibiotics are not required.