ECDC comment: European Commission updates communicable disease surveillance list - Lyme neuroborreliosis now under EU/EEA surveillance

ECDC comment

On 22 June 2018, the European Commission updated the communicable diseases list and related special health issues to be covered by epidemiological surveillance as well as the relevant case definitions.

For the first time, Lyme neuroborreliosis was included on the list of diseases under EU epidemiological surveillance, with a uniform EU case definition being formally released.

The new case definition is based on scientific advice by ECDC and wide consultation with experts in EU Member States.

ECDC will start monitoring disease distribution in the EU and collecting EU data through the epidemiological surveillance network comprising the European Commission, ECDC and national authorities for epidemiological surveillance. The first call for data on Lyme neuroborreliosis in the European Surveillance System (TESSy), will be launched in 2019.

In addition to new scientific information, evolving laboratory diagnostics and advice by ECDC, the European Commission regularly updates the list of communicable diseases and health issues to monitor at the EU level. The European Commission also sets the case definitions to be used by Member States when sharing information with the epidemiological surveillance network to ensure comparability and compatibility of the data collected at EU level.

ECDC comment

Lyme borreliosis is a prevalent tick-borne disease in Europe. A recent literature review estimated a population-weighted average incidence of Lyme borreliosis in Western Europe of 22 cases per 100 000 person-years[1]. However, it is widely recognised that the heterogeneity of surveillance across European countries remains a challenge to accurately assessing disease incidence, distribution and trend over time[2]. Collecting comparable EU data on Lyme neuroborreliosis would provide more comprehensive information on the incidence of the disease at the European level and a more reliable assessment of the trend of Lyme borreliosis among EU/EEA members.


[1] Sykes RA, Makiello P. An estimate of Lyme borreliosis incidence in Western Europe. J Public Health (Oxf). 2017 Mar 1;39(1):74-81.

[2] van den Wijngaard CC, Hofhuis A, Simões M, Rood E, van Pelt W, Zeller H, Van Bortel W. Surveillance perspective on Lyme borreliosis across the European Union and European Economic Area. Euro Surveill. 2017 Jul 6;22(27).