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Healthcare costs and outcomes associated with laboratory-confirmed Lyme disease in Ontario, Canada: a population-based cohort study


Background – The objective of this study was to estimate the economic burden attributable to laboratory-confirmed Lyme disease (LD) in Ontario, Canada and assess health outcomes associated with LD.

Method – We conducted a cohort study using laboratory-confirmed LD cases accrued between 2006 and 2018. The exposed cohort was matched 1:3 to the unexposed cohort using a combination of hard and propensity score matching. We used phase-of-care costing methods to calculate attributable costs for four phases of illness: pre-diagnosis, acute care, post-acute care, and continuing care in 2018 Canadian dollars. We used ICD-10-CA and OHIP billing codes to identify emergency department visits, physician billings and hospitalizations related to LD sequelae to assess health outcomes.

Results – A total of 2,808 cases were identified with a mean age of 46.5 (20.7) years and 44% female. Within 30-days, 404 (14.3%) cases required an ED visit and 63 (2.4%) cases required hospitalization. The mean (95% CI) total costs for LD cases in pre-diagnosis, acute, and post-acute care phases were $209 ($181, 238), $1,084 ($956, $1,212), and $1,714 ($1,499, $1,927), respectively. The highest mean attributable 10-day cost was $275 ($231, $319) during acute care. At 1-year post-infection, LD increased the relative risk of nerve palsies by 62 (20, 197), and polyneuropathy by 24 (3.0, 190). LD resulted in 16 Lyme meningitis events vs. 0 events in the unexposed.

Conclusion – Individuals with laboratory-confirmed LD have increased healthcare resource use pre-diagnosis and up to six months post-diagnosis, and were more likely to seek healthcare services related to LD sequelae.



Mac S, Evans G, Pullenayegum E, N. Patel SN, Sander B. PLoS One. 2023; 18(6):e0286552. Epub 2023 Jun 22.

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