Large-scale study of preventive antibiotic usage against Lyme disease

Location of registered tick bites via Tekenradar.nl and the number of tick bites per province per 100,000 inhabitants.

Today, at the start of the "Tick Week", the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and Wageningen University are commencing a large-scale study to discover whether preventive use of antibiotics can stop Lyme disease developing after a tick bite. Of the more than 3400 ticks that were sent to RIVM via Tekenradar.nl (Tick radar) last year, more than 20% turned out to be infected with the Borrelia bacteria which can cause Lyme disease. Around 3% of the people bitten by ticks developed Lyme disease.

It is not yet clear to what extent the advantages of preventive (possibly less Lyme disease cases) outweigh the disadvantages (side effects of and increased resistance to antibiotics). That is the reason for asking people, who register a tick bite on Tekenradar.nl and send the tick to the RIVM, to take part in this research. The participants will be divided into two groups. One group will be asked – provided the agrees – to take a single dose of antibiotics within three days of removing the tick. The other group should not take antibiotics. The research is expected to last four years.

Annually between 20,000 and 30,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in The Netherlands, over 130 cases per 100,000 persons per year. Tekenradar.nl was started a year ago with the aim of determining how often Lyme disease develops after a tick bite. This website – with more than 7,000 registrations of tick bites and more than 3,400 sent in – became the world's biggest survey of the risk of developing Lyme disease after a tick bite. The contributing to Tekenradar.nl make it possible to extend the research and to look for an answer to the frequently asked question: should people receive preventive antibiotics after being bitten?

Of the 2828 people who sent in a tick in 2012 and filled in a questionnaire on Tekenradar.nl every three months, 2.7 % developed Lyme disease. Of those, 80% developed only erythema migrans (red, ring-shaped skin rash) while 20 % had a more serious form of the disease. The symptoms developed mostly (91 %) within three months.

As 22% of the ticks sent to RIVM were infected with the Borrelia bacteria, the conclusion is that being bitten by an infected tick does not necessarily result in .

Relative numbers of inhabitants registering were the highest in the province of Drenthe, followed by Groningen, Utrecht and Gelderland. The province where the most people became ill after a tick bite was, relatively speaking, Utrecht. Flevoland had the fewest.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New tick-borne disease discovered

Sep 20, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Yale School of Public Health researchers in collaboration with Russian scientists have discovered a new tick-borne bacterium that might be causing disease in the United States and elsewhere. ...

Tick season starting early this year

Apr 23, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Tick season has started earlier than normal due to the mild winter, which means hikers, gardeners and others who love the outdoors should take precautions to prevent becoming a meal for ticks, ...

Recommended for you

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

7 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

8 hours ago

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

8 hours ago

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

10 hours ago

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

On the environmental trail of food pathogens

11 hours ago

Tracking one of the deadliest food contamination organisms through produce farms and natural environments alike, Cornell microbiologists are showing how to use big datasets to predict where the next outbreak could start.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.