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Public Health. 2016 Oct;139:22-26. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2016.05.019. Epub 2016 Jun 21.

Fourth case of louse-borne relapsing fever in Young Migrant, Sicily, Italy, December 2015. Mini Review Article.

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Department of Sciences for Health Promotion and Mother-Child Care "G.D'Alessandro", Palermo, Italy. Electronic address:
Department of Sciences for Health Promotion and Mother-Child Care "G.D'Alessandro", Palermo, Italy.



Currently louse-borne relapsing fever (LBRF) is primarily found in limited endemic foci in Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan; no case of imported LBRF has been reported in Europe in the 9 years prior to 2015. The aim of our paper is to describe a new case of imported LBRF detected in Sicily, Italy, and to review all cases reported in migrants arrived in Europe in the last 10 years.


Mini review of all published cases of louse-borne relapsing fever in Europe in the last 10 years.


A computerized search without language restriction was conducted using PubMed combining the terms '(louse-borne relapsing fever or LBRF or recurrentis) and (refugee or Europe or migrant)' without limits. Furthermore, the 'Ahead-of-Print Articles' of the top 10 journals (ranked by Impact factor - Web of Science) of Infectious diseases and of Epidemiology were checked.


Our search identified 26 cases of LBRF between July and October 2015 in migrants recently arrived in Europe: 8 had been described in Italy; 1 in Switzerland; 2 in the Netherlands; 15 in Germany. We describe data regarding the clinical characteristics, diagnostic methods, therapy and outcome of these patients and of the new case.


LBRF by Borrelia recurrentis should be considered among the clinical hypotheses in migrants presenting with fever, headache, chills, sweating, arthralgia, myalgia, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.


Borrelia recurrentis; Europe; Louse-borne relapsing fever; Refugees

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