Incidence, presentation and management of Lyme disease in Dutch general practice
SourceFamily Practice, 36, 2, (2019), pp. 110-116
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 4: lnfectious Diseases and Global Health RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the presentation and management of Lyme disease in general practice. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the incidence of Lyme disease over a 6-year period, and its presentation and management in Dutch general practice. METHODS: Observational study using routine data from a practice-based research network in the Netherlands with 7 practices, 24 GPs and 30000 registered patients. From 2009 to 2014, we calculated the incidence of patients presenting with Lyme disease in general practice. We analysed patient characteristics and symptoms that patients presented with at first visit. Furthermore, we analysed General Practitioners' (GPs') diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, and adherence to the national guideline. RESULTS: Over a 6-year period, we found 212 episodes with clinical- or laboratory-based diagnosed Lyme disease, resulting in a mean incidence of 117 cases per 100000 patients per year. We did not identify a significant linear trend over time. The most frequently reported symptoms at first visit were rash (77%) and/or insect bite (58%). In 25% of patients, GPs performed a serological test, in 99% an antibiotic was prescribed and 11% were referred to a medical specialist. Frequently (in 46% of patients), the GP did not adhere to the guideline completely. CONCLUSION: This study shows that there is no linear trend in the incidence of Lyme disease over a 6-year period and that most patients present to GPs with unspecific symptoms like rash or insect bites. We show that GPs frequently (in 46% of patients) do not fully adhere to recommendations stated in the national guideline.
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