More than 14 percent of the world’s population has Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne disease, according to a report released Tuesday.
Lyme disease or Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium transmitted to humans through the bites of infected ticks. According to the analysis published in the journal BMJ Global Health, Central Europe has the highest infection rate – 20%. Men over the age of 50 living in rural areas are the people most at risk of infection.
To show how widespread Lyme disease is in the world, the researchers identified 137 eligible studies – out of 4,196 possible – and grouped the data provided by 89 of them.
In 14.5% of the 160,000 participants, antibodies produced by the human body against the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) were detected in the blood.
“This is the largest and most up-to-date systematic review of global seroprevalence of Bb to date,” the authors of the meta-analysis said.
Where most illnesses were recorded
After Central Europe, the regions with the highest antibody rates are East Asia (15.9%), Western Europe (13.5%) and Eastern Europe (10.4%). The Caribbean region has the lowest rate – only 2%.
Previous research has shown that the prevalence of tick-borne diseases has doubled in the last 12 years.
Read also: How to remove a tick from the skin and what a mistake to avoid
This increase is explained by longer and drier summers due to climate change, animal migration and “increasing contact with pets,” according to the authors of the research.
The most exposed people
Farmers and other workers who regularly interact with host animals such as dogs and sheep are most at risk of being bitten by an infected tick, according to the study.
The data may be distorted, as health authorities in regions where Lyme disease is endemic are more likely to perform regular antibody tests than in regions where the disease is less common.
Lyme disease is rarely fatal, but people who are stung by an infected tick often have a rash and flu-like symptoms, especially muscle and joint pain, headaches, dizziness, and vomiting.
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