To describe environmental and personal tick-preventive measures and their predictors, taken by a population living in a highly tick-endemic area.
Owing to the recent confirmation of human tick-borne encephalitis cases, vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis was offered to the population living in the endemic area through the use of leaflets and media campaigns. At the time of the initial dose, information and enrollment to this cohort study was carried out. Participants’ characteristics, frequency of tick-bites and preventive measures were included in questionnaires. Logistic analysis was used to determine behavioural differences in activities taken in order to prevent tick bites.
In total, 70% of the permanent residents had themselves vaccinated before the next tick season. Of the studied participants 356/517 (69%) regularly took preventive measures in their environment and/or personally. Women in particular, and those previously treated for a tick-borne
disease, took significantly more preventive measures. When analysing all variables together, spending less time in a tick-endemic area and being tick-bitten during the latest tick season significantly increased the probability of taking preventive measures. After being tick-bitten, men were more inclined to start taking preventive measures than women. Awareness of the risks caused by living in a high tick-endemic area influenced the participant’s daily life through preventive activities. Public health action should be considered, thus encouraging out-of-door activities for the population without anxiety as to the risks of contracting tick-borne
disease after being tick-bitten.