Epidemiology of Lyme disease among workers of forest inspectorates in Poland

Zofia Kruba 1,  
Health Care Institute, B. Markiewicz High Public Technological – Economical School in Jaroslaw, Jaroslaw, Poland
Department of Clinical Endoscopy, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2013;20(2):329–331
Introduction. Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis, LB) is a systemic tick-borne disease. Its symptoms include dermatological changes and systemic manifestations such as musculoskeletal, neurologic, and cardiac. The etiologic agent of LB is a spirochete known as Borrelia burgdorferi (B.b.) with rodents and small mammals as its animal reservoir. In Poland, there are approximately 9–10 cases of the disease per 100,000 inhabitants each year. Objective. Analyis of the incidence of Lyme borreliosis and the clinical picture of the disease among foresters. Material and methods. The research material consisted of data collected in a diagnostic survey conducted by use of a survey questionnaire method. The study involved 100 randomly selected workers of the forest inspectorate in Podkarpackie Voivodeship. Group I consisted of men between 30–45 years old with an average length of service of 14 years (48%); group II consisted of men between 45–55 years old with an average length of service of 24 years (52%). Results. Only 25% of the foresters from the first group, younger in age and with shorter service, had never been bitten by a tick, while 60% were bitten once, and 15% had been repeatedly bitten. In the second group, older in age and with longer service, only 3% had never been bitten by a tick, 35% were bitten once, while 62% had been repeatedly bitten. LB was diagnosed in 30% of the research participants from the first group and in 45% from the second group. Most frequently, LB was diagnosed as a result of the presence of erythema migrans (55%), ELISA test (20%), and Western Blot test (22%). The most frequent symptoms among the participants were: erythema migrans (45%), fever and shivers (35%), muscle pain and cramps (15%), other symptoms (5%). Permanent presence of symptoms was reported by 70% of the participants, 25% experienced symptoms periodically, and 5% only sporadically. Conclusions. LB occurs more frequently among foresters older in age and with longer service (45%); in the younger group – 30%. Despite knowledge on preventive methods, there is no effective preventive method for this disease.