Roughly 14 percent of the global population has been infected with Lyme disease, and its prevalence is only growing, according to a study published Monday.


Researchers said that the study, which was published in the journal BMJ Global Health, is a first-of-its-kind analysis that examined more than three decades worth of studies on the tick-borne disease.


Researchers parsed through thousands of potentially applicable studies from three databases, eventually analyzing 89 studies conducted between 1984 and 2021 that involved a total of 158,287 participants.


But the study found that much of that research didn’t utilize a certain laboratory technique that separates and identifies proteins to confirm results, called western blotting, which reduces the risk of reporting false positives.

  • Lyme disease can cause symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue and a bullseye skin rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Most cases can be treated successfully in a few weeks with antibiotics.
  • Although it is rarely life threatening, Lyme disease can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system, potentially leaving permanent damage if left untreated, according to the agency.