Epidemiology of Lyme borreliosis through two surveillance systems: the national Sentinelles GP network and the national hospital discharge database, France, 2005 to 2016

Euro Surveill. 2019 Mar;24(11):1800134. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.11.1800134.


Background: Lyme borreliosis (LB) is the most frequent vector-borne disease in France. Since 2009, surveillance of LB is conducted by a sentinel network of general practitioners (GPs). This system, in conjunction with the national hospitalisation database was used to estimate the incidence and describe the characteristics of LB in France.

Aim: To describe the estimated incidence and trends in GP consultations and hospital admissions for LB in France and identify risk groups and high-incidence regions.

Results: From 2011 to 2016, the mean yearly incidence rate of LB cases was 53 per 100,000 inhabitants (95% CI: 41-65) ranging from 41 in 2011 to 84 per 100 000 in 2016. A mean of 799 cases per year were hospitalised with LB associated diagnoses 2005-16. The hospitalisation incidence rate (HIR) ranged from 1.1 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2005 to 1.5 in 2011 with no statistically significant trend. We observed seasonality with a peak during the summer, important inter-regional variations and a bimodal age distribution in LB incidence and HIR with higher incidence between 5 and 9 year olds and those aged 60 years. Erythema migrans affected 633/667 (95%) of the patients at primary care level. Among hospitalised cases, the most common manifestation was neuroborreliosis 4,906/9,594 (51%).

Conclusion: Public health strategies should focus on high-incidence age groups and regions during the months with the highest incidences and should emphasise prevention measures such as regular tick checks after exposure and prompt removal to avoid infection.

Keywords: Lyme borreliosis; general practitioners; hospitalisation; incidence; neuroborreliosis; surveillance.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / isolation & purification*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • General Practitioners
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis
  • Lyme Disease / epidemiology*
  • Lyme Disease / microbiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Admission / trends
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data*
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Referral and Consultation / trends
  • Seasons
  • Sentinel Surveillance*
  • Tick-Borne Diseases / epidemiology
  • Tick-Borne Diseases / microbiology
  • Young Adult