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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2010 Dec;29(12):1579-81. doi: 10.1007/s10096-010-1028-6. Epub 2010 Aug 18.

Risk of acquiring tick-borne infections in forestry workers from Lazio, Italy.

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  • 1Department of Occupational Medicine, Istituto Superiore per la Prevenzione e Sicurezza del Lavoro, 00040 Monte Porzio Catone, Rome, Italy.


The seroprevalence of antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus was evaluated in a group of forestry rangers in the Lazio region of Italy. One hundred and forty-five forestry rangers and 282 blood donors were examined by two-tiered serological tests for B. burgdorferi and TBE virus. Information on occupation, residence, tick bites, outdoor leisure activities and other risk factors was obtained. The prevalence of IgG/IgM antibodies to B. burgdorferi showed no statistical difference between the two groups, but there was a higher occurrence of IgM antibodies. There were significant differences between indoor and outdoor, urban and rural workplaces among the 145 exposed workers (χ² test: p < 0.001), and a higher risk for outdoor rural than urban tasks was detected among the ten Western blot-tested forestry rangers positive to B. burgdorferi (χ² test: p < 0.1). No seropositivity was observed for the TBE virus. Forestry rangers from the Lazio region did not have a higher risk of Borrelia infection than the blood donors, though an increase in the risk for outdoor tasks in a rural environment was observed.

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