Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Lyme Disease Data and Seropositivity for Borrelia burgdorferi, China, 2005‒2020

Emerg Infect Dis. 2022 Dec;28(12):2389-2397. doi: 10.3201/eid2812.212612.


Since its initial identification in 1986, Lyme disease has been clinically diagnosed in 29 provinces in China; however, national incidence data are lacking. To summarize Lyme disease seropositivity data among persons across China, we conducted a systematic literature review of Chinese- and English-language journal articles published during 2005‒2020. According to 72 estimates that measured IgG by using a diagnostic enzyme-linked assay (EIA) alone, the seropositivity point prevalence with a fixed-effects model was 9.1%. A more conservative 2-tier testing approach of EIA plus a confirmatory Western immunoblot (16 estimates) yielded seropositivity 1.8%. Seropositivity by EIA for high-risk exposure populations was 10.0% and for low-risk exposure populations was 4.5%; seropositivity was highest in the northeastern and western provinces. Our analysis confirms Lyme disease prevalence, measured by seropositivity, in many Chinese provinces and populations at risk. This information can be used to focus prevention measures in provinces where seropositivity is high.

Keywords: Borrelia burgdorferi; China; Lyme disease; bacteria; epidemiology; parasites; seroepidemiologic studies; tick-borne diseases; vector-borne infections.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Borrelia burgdorferi*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease* / diagnosis
  • Lyme Disease* / epidemiology
  • Prevalence