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Risk of infections among orienteers.

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Research on orienteers is useful for assessing the risk of infections associated with physical activity in the forest. In this paper four types of infections are reviewed, and the efficacy of preventive initiatives is discussed.


The paper is based on literature retrieved from a non-systemic search in PubMed.


Hepatitis B infection was more prevalent among orienteers before they were obliged to use protective clothing. In the 1980s, there was an increase of sudden unexpected death among young Swedish orienteers. Bartonella infection was later suggested as an underlying cause. No unexpected deaths have occurred among young orienteers after 1992 when specific advice was given regarding training and competitions. Orienteers do not seem to be affected by
lyme borreliosis or tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) more often than others, but only two old studies have been performed.


Orienteers may be at risk of acquiring infection from
lyme borreliosis and TBE in Norway in the future, as the incidence of these contagions is increasing. Norwegian medical personnel should consider TBE vaccination of orienteers and others who wander in areas with a high prevalence of infected ticks.

Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2009 Jun 25;129(13):1326-8. doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.09.0126. English Abstract; Review

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