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Prevalence of Lyme borreliosis in a Swiss population at risk.

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The epidemiology of "
Lyme borreliosis" in Europe and the significance of positive antibody titers against Borrelia burgdorferi is not well known. Since "orienteering", a competitive cross country sport with a map and a compass, usually in forests, elevates the risk of being bitten by ticks and infected by B. burgdorferi, nearly 1000 orienteerers were included in a prospective study. – In this population the prevalence of positive IgG-antibodies (immunofluorescence technique) was almost 20% and of IgM-antibodies 4%. However, the frequency of associated symptoms in the clinical history of the probands was very low, even in individuals with highly positive titers. – We conclude that the rate of asymptomatic Borrelia infections is high in this special group, and probably also in the general population, and that one has therefore to be cautious in interpreting an isolated positive "
Lyme titer". Further investigations are needed, and, in particular, follow-up of the many "positive" subjects without clinical symptoms may be helpful in understanding this fascinating
disease better.

Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1988 Jan 16;118(2):65-9. English Abstract; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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