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Workplace-related risk of tick bites in military personnel stationed in Northern Germany.

Authors
  • Sammito, S1, 2, 3
  • Müller-Schilling, L4
  • Gundlach, N5
  • Faulde, M6
  • Böckelmann, I4
  • 1 Section Research and Development, Air Force Center of Aerospace Medicine, Cologne, Germany. [email protected] , (Germany)
  • 2 Occupational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany. [email protected] , (Germany)
  • 3 VI 3.3 Occupational Health Management, Sports and Nutrition Medicine, Bundeswehr Medical Service Headquarters, Von-Kuhl-Straße 50, 56070, Koblenz, Germany. [email protected] , (Germany)
  • 4 Occupational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 5 Rotenburg (Wümme) Medical Clinic, Rotenburg, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 6 Section Medical Entomology/Zoology, Department XXI B, Bundeswehr Central Hospital, Koblenz, Germany. , (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2019
Volume
92
Issue
7
Pages
1061–1065
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00420-019-01445-0
PMID: 31139884
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

There are more than 500,000 employees in Germany alone who are at risk of being bitten by a tick at their workplace and thus also at risk of being infected with Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. or the tick-borne meningoencephalitis virus. So far, there are only a small number of studies on the risk of tick bites in Central Europe, in particular, for military personnel during relevant training activities. During a total of 36 months of training in 2008/2009 and from 2012 to 2014, the number of tick bites and any resulting diseases of 1156 recruits under comparable conditions of exposure and prevention were documented based on their medical records. The incidence of tick bites was calculated with each recruit's individual exposure time for field training. There were a total of 66 tick bites during an exposure time of 317,059 h of field training (0.21 tick bites per 1000 h of training). The risk of tick bites was found to have a seasonal dependency. In 6 out of the 66 cases in which someone was bitten, the patients consulted a physician for a follow-up examination, and in one of these cases the bite resulted in an infection requiring treatment. It turns out that there is a rather low but relevant risk of being exposed to tick bites for military personnel during their field training. Under the given study conditions, months with a high risk of tick bites can be distinguished from months with a low risk of tick bites, which is of vital importance, in particular, for guidance and prevention.

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