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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 1999 February;134(1):35-9


language: Italian

Lyme disease in Abruzzo

Fazii P., Riario Sforza G.

Ospedale «Spirito Santo» - Pescara, Servizio di Patologia Clinica


Lyme disease is a multisystem disorder caused by the tick-transmitted spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. It is widespread in the boreal emisphere, expecially in the USA, Europe and some Asian areas. In Italy, it has been reported to occur as endemic in some northern regions, whereas only sporadic cases have been so far reported in the remaining regions. We reported on the first case diagnosed in Abruzzo in 1994; we have now described 11 cases of Lyme disease, diagnosed on the basis of clinically suggestive pictures, by means of serological techniques (ELISA and Western blot tests) at our facilities. Eight cases presented with prevalently articular symptoms, two more cases had neurological syndromes, while cutaneous involvement only was seen in the remaining two cases. Three patients only reported or had evidence of tick bite. Most cases in our series were young adults, resident in seaside resorts; 8 of them were female. The absence of reported cases from the many inner, wooded countries in our region, all at potential risk for tick-born diseases, led us to investigate the prevalence of antibodies directed to epitopes of Borrelia burgdorferi in professionally exposed subjects. We have preliminary data indicating that park rangers, operating in the area of Parco Nazionale D’Abruzzo as well as Parco Nazionale della Maiella, produce such antibodies in a relevant proportion of cases. Our data lead us to conclude that Lyme disease, although underestimated so far, is present in our region, with a spotty distribution in the investigated counties.

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