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Abstract

Background

Lyme borreliosis (LB) is the most widespread hard tick-borne zoonosis in the northern hemisphere. Existing studies in Europe have focused mainly on acarological risk assessment, with few investigations exploring human LB occurrence.

Aim

We explored the determinants of spatial and seasonal LB variations in France from 2016 to 2021 by integrating environmental, animal, meteorological and anthropogenic factors, and then mapped seasonal LB risk predictions.

Methods

We fitted 2016–19 LB national surveillance data to a two-part spatio-temporal statistical model. Spatial and temporal random effects were specified using a Besag-York-Mollie model and a seasonal model, respectively. Coefficients were estimated in a Bayesian framework using integrated nested Laplace approximation. Data from 2020–21 were used for model validation.

Results

A high vegetation index (≥ 0.6) was positively associated with seasonal LB presence, while the index of deer presence (> 60%), mild soil temperature (15–22 °C), moderate air saturation deficit (1.5–5 mmHg) and higher tick bite frequency were associated with increased incidence. Prediction maps show a higher risk of LB in spring and summer (April–September), with higher incidence in parts of eastern, midwestern and south-western France.

Conclusion

We present a national level spatial assessment of seasonal LB occurrence in Europe, disentangling factors associated with the presence and increased incidence of LB. Our findings yield quantitative evidence for national public health agencies to plan targeted prevention campaigns to reduce LB burden, enhance surveillance and identify further data needs. This approach can be tested in other LB endemic areas.

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/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2023.28.14.2200581
2023-04-06
2024-06-15
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2023.28.14.2200581
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