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Ternopil State Medical University researchers continue studying epidemiology, manifestations and prevention of Lyme disease

On May 17, 2018 a working group of scientists from TSMU Department of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology visited five forestry districts of Volyn region.

The work aimed to assess understanding by the foresters of epidemiology, main clinical manifestations and prevention of Lyme disease, and to carry out clinical and laboratory studies to detect borreliosis bacteria in risk groups.

The research is a part of a joint project Study of Epidemiology, Pathogenesis and Manifestations of Lyme Disease in the Endemic Regions of Ukraine, including Ternopil region, and Improvement of its Diagnosis, Treatment, Rehabilitation and Prevention, which is in part financed through the State budget of Ukraine.

TSMU researchers surveyed 147 employees of the State Enterprise Kivertsivske Forestry, located in the southern part of Volyn region; State Enterprises Kolkivske Forestry, Poliske Forestry and Manevytske Forestry, in the northeastern part of Volyn region; and State Enterprise Horodotske Forestry.

The forestry workers gave answers to an international questionnaire, specifying locations and number of tick bites, tick removal methods they use, whether they tested the ticks for the presence of Lyme borreliosis, complaints after tick bites, use of repellents when entering forested area, and skin examination after leaving it. Forestry workers in the region also assessed their own knowledge of Lyme borreliosis.  As a result, they requested more in-depth information on prevention and clinical signs of this infection.

Assistant professor of the department of infectious diseases and epidemiology Mariya Shkilna and residents Roksolana Humenna and Nataliia Zaverbna administer survey.

In addition to the questionnaire answers, TSMU researchers have received a lot of interesting and useful information about forestry work in Volyn region.

The researchers were pleasantly surprised that employees of the State Enterprise Kolkivske gave clear answers regarding the use of insect repellent while working in the forest. The forestry workers use repellent as a habit.

In addition to administering the questionnaire, TSMU researchers collected blood samples to test for the presence of the Lyme borreliosis.

Nurses Halina Havtur and Mariia Yablonskaa, Ternopil City Communal Hospital intern Mariana Huk, and a postgraduate student of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Kateryna Yavorska collected blood samples.