S Mavin, EJ Watson, R Evans
Journal Issue: 
Volume 45: Issue 3: 2015



This study examines the distribution of laboratory-confirmed cases of Lyme borreliosis in Scotland and the clinical spectrum of presentations within NHS Highland.

Methods General demographic data (age/sex/referring Health Board) from all cases of Lyme borreliosis serologically confirmed by the National Lyme Borreliosis Testing Laboratory from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2013 were analysed. Clinical features of confirmed cases were ascertained from questionnaires sent to referring clinicians within NHS Highland during the study period.

Results The number of laboratory-confirmed cases of Lyme borreliosis in Scotland peaked at 440 in 2010. From 2008 to 2013 the estimated average annual incidence was 6.8 per 100,000 (44.1 per 100,000 in NHS Highland). Of 594 questionnaires from NHS Highland patients: 76% had clinically confirmed Lyme borreliosis; 48% erythema migrans; 17% rash, 25% joint, 15% neurological and 1% cardiac symptoms. Only 61% could recall a tick bite.

Conclusion The incidence of Lyme borreliosis may be stabilising in Scotland but NHS Highland remains an area of high incidence. Lyme borreliosis should be considered in symptomatic patients that have had exposure to ticks and not just those with a definite tick bite.