In the study presented here, 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). 13 of 472 donors (2.7%) tested were positive by immunoblotting (IB). These 13 donors were examined in more detail by physical examination, anamnesis and determination of inflammation parameters of the blood. All persons were asymptomatic for
Lyme borreliosis. One of 5 who remembered a tick bite actually had suffered from an erythema chronicum migrans 5 years ago. Another one had been affected by fever, headaches and pain 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. Moreover, each of the 472 serum samples was analyzed by a hemagglutination test (HAT). 26 (5.5%) showed a positive test result. In order to investigate whether a seroconversion of the recipients by transfusion of B. burgdorferi antibody-positive blood had taken place, 9 recipients of blood products originating from the 13 IB-positive donors were serologically reexamined. All samples taken proved to be antibody-negative. Consequently, the transfusion did not produce any seroconversion in the patients thus treated.