Low Rates of Ehrlichiosis and Lyme Borreliosis in English Farmworkers

Epidemiol Infect. 1998 Dec;121(3):609-14. doi: 10.1017/s0950268898001514.

Abstract

To determine the occupational significance of tick-borne zoonoses we sought serological evidence of Lyme borreliosis, human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME) and human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) in a representative sample of farmworkers. Although around 20% reported ticks on their domestic and companion animals, few (< 2% per year) reported being bitten by ticks. Seroprevalence of Lyme borreliosis (0.2%), HME (0.2%) and HGE (1.5%) was low. Those seropositive for HGE were no more likely to report tick bites nor more likely to report ticks on their animals. This study provides evidence that farmworkers in England are exposed to tick-borne zoonoses but that they are uncommon. Since the severity of these diseases is linked to delays in diagnosis and treatment, clinicians should be aware of these diagnoses in patients from rural communities, with or without a self-reported history of tick bite.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Animals
  • Ehrlichiosis / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ticks / microbiology
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology