HealthDay News — The incidence of Lyme disease (LD) increased from 2001 to 2012 in the United Kingdom, with an estimated incidence rate of 12.1 per 100,000 individuals per year, according to a study published online July 30 in BMJ Open.

Victoria Cairns and colleagues from the Institute for Epidemiology, Statistics and Informatics in Frankfurt, Germany, extracted data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, including data for 8.4 million individuals registered with general practitioners with 52.4 million person-years of observation from Jan. 1, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2012. The annual incidence of LD was estimated for each region of the United Kingdom.

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The researchers identified a rapid increase in the number of LD cases from 2001 to 2012, leading to an estimated incidence rate of 12.1 per 100,000 individuals per year; in 2012, there were a total of 7,738 LD cases in the United Kingdom. LD was detected in every U.K. region. Scotland had the highest incidence rates and largest number of cases, followed by South West and South England. The number of cases in the United Kingdom is expected to be more than 8,000 in 2019 if the number of cases continues to rise after the end of the study period.

“These results should lead to increased awareness of the need for preventive measures,” the authors write. “Greater awareness of the risks may also lead to more rapid diagnosis and treatment which is important to prevent long-term morbidity.”

Several authors are employees of the Institute for Epidemiology, Statistics and Informatics, which receives funding from pharmaceutical companies.

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