According to the latest survey, general practitioners (GPs) saw approximately 23,500 people with a red ring or spot-shaped rash on the skin (erythema migrans) in 2014. This rash is the most common signal of Lyme disease. In addition, about 1,400 people were diagnosed with other more serious forms of Lyme disease. The number of people who have reported the red skin rash increased slightly between 2009 and 2014 and may be stabilising. The number of people that came to the GP with a tick in their skin has decreased, presumably because people remove the tick themselves more often. Most often Lyme disease can be treated well. A year after treatment about 1,000 to 2,500 people report prolonged symptoms such as fatigue, pain or difficulty concentrating. Why some patients develop such complaints and why these persist is not known.
To gain more insight into the causes of persistent symptoms
after treatment for Lyme disease, the 'Lyme Prospect'
research was launched. Anyone 18 years or older can sign up for
this study if he or she is about to start antibiotic treatment
against Lyme disease. Participation either through the GP or through http://www.tekenradar.nl//.
Participants are asked to give blood, and are asked to
complete an online questionnaire about their health for a year, at
the start and every three months. With the results of this study,
researchers hope to gain insight why some patients develop
complaints after treatment and why these symptoms persist.
Lyme Prospect research is a collaboration between RIVM, AMC, Radboud University Medical Center and Gelre Hospitals Apeldoorn. The website http://www.tekenradar.nl/ is a collaboration between Wageningen UR and RIVM.
13 -17 April is Tick Awareness Week in The Netherlands. As from this week, people are encouraged to do a thorough body check for ticks after being outdoors. Instructions are given on how to remove a tick and people are instructed to record date and location of tick bite. If rash or flu-like symptoms appear people are advised to contact their general practitioner immediately.
Dissemination of GP consultations for erythema migrans in the Netherlands from 1994 to 2014 (source: RIVM)