Practices of Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment by general practitioners in Quebec, 2008-2015
BACKGROUND: Lyme disease (LD), a multisystem infection caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto (B. burgdorferi), is the most reported vector-borne disease in North America, and by 2020, 80% of the population in central and eastern Canada could live in LD risk areas. Among the key factors for minimising the impact of LD are the accurate diagnosis and appropriate management of patients bitten by ticks. In this study, the practices of Quebec general practitioners (GPs) on LD diagnosis and management of patients bitten by infected ticks are described. METHODS: Eight years (2008 to 2015) of retrospective demographic and clinical data on patients bitten by infected Ixodes scapularis (I. scapularis) ticks and on the management of suspected and confirmed LD cases by Quebec GPs were analysed. RESULTS: Among 50 patients, all the antimicrobial treatments of LD clinical cases were appropriate according to current guidelines. However, more than half (62.8%) of erythema migrans (EM) were possibly misdiagnosed, 55.6%, (n = 27) of requested serologic tests were possibly unnecessary and the majority (96.5%, n = 57) of prophylactic antimicrobial treatments were not justified according to current guidelines. CONCLUSIONS: These observations underline the importance for public health to enhance the knowledge of GPs where LD is emerging, to minimise the impact of the disease on patients and the financial burden on the health system.