TSMU researchers started working on epidemiology, symptoms and prevention of Lyme borreliosis disease in different regions of Ukraine

On June 20-23, 2017, a group of researchers from Ternopil State Medical University Department of Infectious Diseases went on field trips to Zhytomyr region and Ternopil military unit В1428. The visits helped to assess awareness of Lyme borreliosis, in particular its epidemiology, major clinical signs and prevention, among risk groups (foresters and servicemen), and carry out clinical and laboratory studies to detect Lyme borreliosis in these populations.

These studies are a part of a large research program “Study of epidemiology, pathogenesis and clinical symptoms of Lyme borreliosis in endemic regions of Ukraine and improvement of its diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and prevention”, which funded by the state.

Foresters of Zhytomyr and Popilnianskyi forest districts of Zhytomyr region as well as military personnel of the military unit of B1428 answered a survey developed by the Department of Infectious Diseases faculty in collaboration with scientists from Poland.

The survey has questions on the number and location of tick bites, methods for removing ticks, testing of ticks for the presence of borreliosis infection, complaints after tick bites, the use of repellents  when entering forested areas, and  examination of the skin when leaving it .

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In total, 100  foresters and 176 military servicemen answered the questionnaires

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Dr. Maria Shkilna carries out the survey

Simultaneously with administering survey, TSMU researchers collected blood samples to test for the presence of Lyme borreliosis infection.

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Dr. Kateryna Yavorska collects blood samples

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Dermatology interns of Ternopil Regional Clinical Skin and Venereal Diseases Clinic participate in the project

Collected blood samples were tested for antibodies to the antigen complex Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (the causative agent of Lyme borreliosis). Preliminary results indicate that 58% of the forestry workers and almost 50% of the military personnel tested positive for the presence of borreloisis antibodies. These patients will require additional advanced laboratory and clinical examination, and if the diagnosis is confirmed, further treatment for Lyme disease.

These data suggest that Lyme borreliosis continues to spread not only in Ternopil region, but also in Zhytomyr region.