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Lyme disease cases have quadrupled

Publication date: 16 April 2018
Modificationdate: 16 April 2018

According to a survey by RIVM , 27,000 people were infected with Lyme disease in 2017. In 2014, the last time RIVM reported on the incidence of tick-borne disease, this number was 25,000. The number of patients that have been infected every year has more than quadrupled in the past 20 years.

From a survey among GPs, it appears that about 25,500 patients had a spot or ring that was characteristic of the Lyme disease, on which the diagnosis Lyme could be made. In another 1,500 patients, the GP diagnosed a disseminated manifestation of Lyme disease. The number of people who had the disease seemed to stabilize in 2014 compared to the 2009 survey, but now the number appears to have increased further. The number of people who consulted the GP for a tick bite also increased last year. Approximately 91,000 people went to the GP in 2017 with a tick bite. Three years earlier, this was 82,000 people.

Regional spread

You can contract Lyme disease anywhere in the Netherlands. On the website www.tekenradar.nl you can see how often Lyme disease occurs in your municipality. In addition to the latest survey, the results from the years 1994, 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2014 can also be viewed per municipality. The poll shows that in the eastern and northern provinces most people contract Lyme disease.

Map of Lyme incidence in the Netherlands 1994 - 2017

Check for tick bites!

It is Tick Week from 16 to 20 April 2018. During Tick Week, RIVM and other organisations recommend people to be extra vigilant for tick bites. Check your skin and clothing for ticks if you have been in the countryside, woods, dunes, park or in the garden.  Wear long sleeves and tuck trousers into socks. Do you have a tick? Remove it immediately and keep an eye on the spot of the bite for 3 months. Contact your GP if you see a ring or spot-shaped rash or if you experience other health problems.

Children with Lyme

Last year, the Academic Medical Center Amsterdam (AMC), the Radboud University Medical Center, Lyme Association and RIVM joined forces and established the Dutch Lyme Disease Expertise Centre to better understand, diagnose and treat Lyme disease. Together they conduct research into the disease. RIVM researcher Kees van den Wijngaard coordinates the ‘LymeProspect study’: "We want to understand why some adults and children have complaints and others do not. On the website www.tekenradar.nl people with tick bites and Lyme can sign up for our research. They report the location of contracting their tick bite and provide other web visitors with information on the incidence of tick bites in the Netherlands. To complete this important research we are still trying to find children and adults who recently contracted Lyme disease after a tick bite”. 

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