14 percent of world population may have had Lyme disease, research finds
A new analysis estimates the share of people globally who have antibodies to Lyme disease to be 14 percent.
More than 14 percent of the world’s population may have had Lyme disease, an analysis released on Monday revealed.
The research, published in BMJ Global Health, is the result of an examination of nearly 90 studies. It offers an unprecedentedly robust picture of how common the tick-borne illness may be.
"As far as I’m aware, this is the first global seroprevalence work that’s been done," said Dr. Peter Krause, a senior research scientist at the Yale School of Public Health who was not involved in the new study. Seroprevalence refers to the measurement of antibodies in blood.
For the analysis, the researchers compiled studies that looked at how common antibodies to the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease, are in humans. Of the more than 158,000 people involved in those studies, around 23,000 had the antibodies, suggesting they were either currently infected or had been in the past.
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in Europe and North America, but it's not evenly distributed around the wold.