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Istituto Superiore di Sanità
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Epidemiology for public health - ISS

Lyme borreliosis

Lyme borreliosis is named after the town in the USA where the first case of this illness was described in 1975. Lyme disease is currently the most common and prominent vector-borne disease in temperate regions, and is second only to malaria in terms of cases among arthropod-borne diseases. This bacterial infection mainly affects the skin, joints, nervous system and internal organs. Symptoms can be severe and persistent and, if left untreated, may become chronic. The pathogen, Borrelia, is a genus of bacteria. Borrelia burgdorferi sensu striato is a bacterium existing in Europe and the only known causative agent of Lyme disease in North America. Bacterial species Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii exist in Europe, Asia and Africa. These germs are transmitted to humans through the bite of hard ticks of the Ixodes genus and maybe also by Amblyomma and Dermacentor ticks (dog ticks). Wild animals (rodents, roe deer, deer, foxes, hares) are the main reservoirs of infection.

Publication date: 28 December 2020