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The prevalence of antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiologic agent of
Lyme borreliosis, was determined in a group of blood donors from the Würzburg area (Southern Germany). 26 of 472 donors (5.5%) tested positive in a hemagglutination test. When performing immunoblots only 13 donors (2.7%) gave rise to B. burgdorferi-specific antibodies. 9 of them were examined in more detail by anamnesis, physical examination, determination of inflammation parameters of the blood and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis of urine. All persons were asymptomatic for
Lyme borreliosis. One of 4, who remembered a tick bite, actually had suffered from an erythema migrans 5 years ago. Another one had been affected by fever, headaches and pains in the limbs, arthralgia and motoric disorder in both hands 6 months before examination. Analysis of the blood did not provide any evidence of an acute infection. In the urine of 2 donors we detected B. burgdorferi-specific DNA by PCR. No seroconversion due to blood transfusion could be observed, when 9 recipients of blood products provided by the 13 seropositive donors were serologically reexamined. PCR analysis of urine samples of 5 recipients was also negative.