A group of 150 persons living in the Lublin province of eastern Poland and occupationally exposed to tick bite were examined by the immunoenzymatic ELISA test for the presence of antibodies against tick-borne Spotted Fever Group (SFG) rickettsiae. The group consisted of 75 forestry workers employed in 3 forest inspectorates and 75 agricultural workers living in 2 villages. As a control group, 43 urban dwellers living in the city of Lublin and not occupationally exposed to tick bite were examined. Among 150 persons occupationally exposed to tick bite, the presence of antibodies against SFG rickettsiae was found in 54 (36.0% of the total). In the control group, the frequency of positive findings was only 4.7%, being significantly smaller compared to the exposed group (p=0.0001). Within the exposed group, the percentage of positive results in forestry workers (50.7%) was greater than in agricultural workers (21.3%); the difference was statistically significant (p=0.0002). Also within this group, the frequency of positive findings in males(46.5%) was significantly greater than in females (21.9%) (p=0.0029). In the exposed group, the positive results tended to increase with the age of the examined persons. However, a significant relationship between age and positive findings was found only in forestry workers (χ2 =14.207, p=0.00264), but not in agricultural workers and total exposed workers. The frequencies of positive results in forestry workers varied significantly depending on place of work (χ2 =11.271, p=0.00357). Similarly, the difference between the positive reactions in agricultural workers living in 2 villages proved to be significant (34.2% vs. 8.1%; p=0.0074). The obtained results indicate that people occupationally exposed to tick bite and living in the area of eastern Poland where over half of Dermacentor reticulatus ticks harbour SFG rickettsiae, are under significantly increased risk of infection with these rickettsiae.
PMID 23772575 - click here to show this article in PubMed