Tick prevention in a population living in a highly endemic area

Document type: Conference Presentations
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Louise Stjernberg, Johan Berglund
Title: Tick prevention in a population living in a highly endemic area
Conference name: 10th International conference on Lyme Borreliosis and other tick-borne diseases.
Year: 2005
City: Vienna, Austria
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Health Science (Sektionen för hälsa)
School of Health Science S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
Language: English
Abstract: Background: To describe environmental and personal tick preventive measures and their predictors, taken by a population living in a highly tick-endemic area.
Methods: Due to the recent confirmation of human tick-borne encephalitis cases, vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis was offered to the population living in the endemic area through the use of leaflets and media campaigns. At the time for the initial dose, information and enrollment to this cohort study was carried out. Participants´ characteristics, frequency of tick-bites and preventive measures were included in questionnaires. Logistic analysis was used to determine behavioural differences in activities taken in order to prevent tick-bites.
Results: In total, 70% of the permanent residents had themselves vaccinated before the next tick-season. Of the studied participants 356/517 (69%) regularly took preventive measures in their environment (i.e. affecting the surroundings and towards animals) and/or personally (i.e. avoidance of extensive tick-areas, use of naturopathic medicine, use of repellents, clothing/boots, body examination, bath/shower). Of those taking personally preventive measures, 46% limited their time spent out-of-doors in carrying out leisure activities.
Women in particular, and those previously treated for a tick-borne disease took significantly more preventive measures. When analysing all variables together, spending less time in tick-endemic area and being tick-bitten the latest tick-season significantly increased the probability of taking preventive measures. After being tick-bitten, men were more inclined to start taking preventive measures than women.
Conclusion: Awareness of the risks caused by living in a high endemic area to ticks influenced the participant’s daily life through preventive activities. Public health action should be considered thus encouraging out-of-door activities for the population, without anxiety for risks for contracting tick-borne disease after being tick-bitten.
Subject: Public Health\General
Keywords: Prevention, tick, lyme borreliosis, exposed, risk, Ixodes ricinus, gender
Note: 10th International conference on Lyme Borreliosis and other tick-borne diseases,Vienna, Austria, September 2005.