Incidence of Lyme disease in the UK.

Published today is a new and highly important research paper by Victoria Cairns and colleagues, Christopher Wallenhorst, Stephan Rietbrock, Carlos Martinez.

This paper gives a clear example of incidences from an anonymized GP database covering 8.4 million patients throughout the UK. It would have been an almighty task to analyze and identify Lyme disease patients and bring this research to the fore. The difficulties accessing this type of information needed for research studies is fraught with obstacles, and this point was made clear by researchers at our symposium in July, 2018.

The numbers of patients not included in the paper will consist of those who were not properly identified as having had a tick bite, a rash, stiff neck, visual disturbances, balance problems, nor a multitude of other symptoms related to bites from infected ticks. It is important to mention that Lyme disease is only part of the problem, and many more infections make up the cocktail associated with infected ticks.

Taking into account the vast numbers of patients not included on the database, it is more than safe to say that the true numbers of patients who have been let down by lack of suitable specialist knowledge, which includes accurate testing methods, will amount to multitudes of missed opportunities for treatment.

We thank Dr Victoria Cairns and her colleagues for their determination and dedication.