RESEARCH PAPER
Sero-epidemiological study of Lyme disease among high-risk population groups in eastern Slovakia
 
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1
Department of Public Health and Hygiene, Faculty of Medicine, University of P. J. Šafárik, Košice, Slovakia
2
Clinic of Infectology and Travel Medicine, L. Pasteur University Hospital, Košice, Slovakia
 
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2015;22(4):632–636
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Introduction and objective:
The aim of the presented cross-sectional sero-epidemiological study was to determine the current presence of antibodies against B. burgdorferi s.l. in the high-risk groups of the Slovak population, and to identify potential risk factors to LB infections.

Material and Methods:
A group of 277 agricultural and forestry workers – persons with frequent stay in the countryside and employees of State Border and Customs Police – from years 2011–2012 in the Eastern Slovakia were examined in order to assess the seroprevalence of anti-Borrelia antibodies. Sera were screened by commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The study subjects completed a questionnaires with general demographic, epidemiological and clinical data. The results were evaluated statistically.

Results:
A 25.3% presence of positive and 8.7% presence of borderline IgG antibodies was detected in all investigated groups. The seroprevalence of B. burgdorferi s.l was significantly higher (P<0.05) among the agricultural and forestry workers when compared to employees of State Border and Customs Police. Higher seropositivity was observed in older subjects over 30 years of age (P=0.004) than those who were younger, and also in males (P=0.045). A significant number of persons with rheumatologic conditions was statistically higher (P=0.020) in the group with seropositivity than in the group with seronegativity.

Conclusions:
The presented study confirms the higher risk of Borrelia infection in individuals with frequent exposure to ticks in eastern Slovakia. The seropositivity tests confirmed the highest seropositivity in agriculture and forestry workers, middle positivity was confirmed among other sector workers, and lowest positivity in policemen and employees of the Customs and Border Inspection. The outputs also simultaneously filling the gap of missing seroprevalence data among these exposed groups.

 
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