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The Financial Implications of a Well-Hidden and Ignored Chronic Lyme Disease Pandemic

Healthcare 20186(1), 16; doi:10.3390/healthcare6010016

Marcus Davidsson


1 million people are predicted to get infected with Lyme disease in the USA in 2018. Given the same incidence rate of Lyme disease in Europe as in the USA, then 2.4 million people will get infected with Lyme disease in Europe in 2018. In the USA by 2050, 55.7 million people (12% of the population) will have been infected with Lyme disease. In Europe by 2050, 134.9 million people (17% of the population) will have been infected with Lyme disease. Most of these infections will, unfortunately, become chronic. The estimated treatment cost for acute and chronic Lyme disease for 2018 for the USA is somewhere between 4.8 billion USD and 9.6 billion USD and for Europe somewhere between 10.1 billion EUR and 20.1 billion EUR. If governments do not finance IV treatment with antibiotics for chronic Lyme disease, then the estimated government cost for chronic Lyme disease for 2018 for the USA is 10.1 billion USD and in Europe 20.1 billion EUR. If governments in the USA and Europe want to minimize future costs and maximize future revenues, then they should pay for IV antibiotic treatment up to a year even if the estimated cure rate is as low as 25%. The cost for governments of having chronic Lyme patients sick in perpetuity is very large.

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  1. Interesting article on the issue but does he show where he gets the estimated costs from? Specialists use different treatment regimens but one thing seems clear that high dose short treatments favoured by insurance companies don’t work. Treatment success seems to be more dependant on the length of treatment than what is used and if the average case takes 1.5 years to treat then oral therapy would be easier, more practical and less costly. Too bad there aren’t more side by side studies of treatments and outcomes then there is such a great heterogeneity in the patient population. Allowing half the patients to be treated according to the IDSA guidelines and the other half by ILADS trained physicians would certainly show which group has a better success rate.

  2. I agree with Rob. What I have seen over many years is that an oral regimen over time is as effective or more effective than intravenous. Intravenous has it’s place for serious heart and brain infection. Jim

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