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Epidemiology of Lyme disease among workers of forest inspectorates in Poland.

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Lyme disease (
Lyme borreliosis, LB) is a systemic tick-borne
disease. Its symptoms include dermatological changes and systemic manifestations such as musculoskeletal, neurologic, and cardiac. The etiologic agent of LB is a spirochete known as Borrelia burgdorferi (B.b.) with rodents and small mammals as its animal reservoir. In Poland, there are approximately 9-10 cases of the
disease per 100,000 inhabitants each year.

OBJECTIVE:

Analyis of the incidence of
Lyme borreliosis and the clinical picture of the
disease among foresters.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:

The research material consisted of data collected in a diagnostic survey conducted by use of a survey questionnaire method. The study involved 100 randomly selected workers of the forest inspectorate in Podkarpackie Voivodeship. Group I consisted of men between 30-45 years old with an average length of service of 14 years (48%); group II consisted of men between 45-55 years old with an average length of service of 24 years (52%).

RESULTS:

Only 25% of the foresters from the first group, younger in age and with shorter service, had never been bitten by a tick, while 60% were bitten once, and 15% had been repeatedly bitten. In the second group, older in age and with longer service, only 3% had never been bitten by a tick, 35% were bitten once, while 62% had been repeatedly bitten. LB was diagnosed in 30% of the research participants from the first group and in 45% from the second group. Most frequently, LB was diagnosed as a result of the presence of erythema migrans (55%), ELISA test (20%), and Western Blot test (22%). The most frequent symptoms among the participants were: erythema migrans (45%), fever and shivers (35%), muscle pain and cramps (15%), other symptoms (5%). Permanent presence of symptoms was reported by 70% of the participants, 25% experienced symptoms periodically, and 5% only sporadically.

CONCLUSIONS:

LB occurs more frequently among foresters older in age and with longer service (45%); in the younger group–30%. Despite knowledge on preventive methods, there is no effective preventive method for this
disease.

Ann Agric Environ Med. 2013;20(2):329-31.

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