Background: Lyme borreliosis (LB) is the most commonly reported tick-borne infection in Europe and North America. In the last 15 years a 3-fold increase was observed in general practitioner consultations for LB in the Netherlands. To support prioritization of prevention and control efforts for LB, we estimated its burden expressed in Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). Methods: We used available incidence estimates for three LB outcomes: (i) erythema migrans (EM), (ii) disseminated LB and (iii) Lyme-related persisting symptoms. To generate DALYs, disability weights and duration per outcome were derived using a patient questionnaire including health-related quality of life as measured by the EQ-5D. Results: We estimated the total LB burden for the Netherlands in 2010 at 10.55 DALYs per 100 000 population (95% CI: 8.8012.43); i.e. 0.60 DALYs for EM, 0.86 DALYs for disseminated LB and 9.09 DALYs for Lyme-related persisting symptoms. Per patient this was 0.005 DALYs for EM, 0.113 for disseminated LB and 1.661 DALYs for a patient with Lyme-related persisting symptoms. In a sensitivity analysis the total LB burden ranged from 7.58 to 16.93 DALYs per 100 000 population. Conclusions: LB causes a substantial disease burden in the Netherlands. The vast majority of this burden is caused by patients with Lyme-related persisting symptoms. EM and disseminated Lyme have a more modest impact. Further research should focus on the mechanisms that trigger development of these persisting symptoms that patients and their physicians attribute to LB.,
European Journal of Public Health
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van den Wijngaard, C., Hofhuis, A., Harms, M. G., Haagsma, J., Wong, A., de Wit, A., … van Pelt, W. (2015). The burden of Lyme borreliosis expressed in disability-adjusted life years. European Journal of Public Health, 25(6), 1071–1078. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckv091