Lyme borreliosis (LB) is a multisystemic disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex transmitted to humans by Ixodes ticks and whose epidemiology is poorly investigated in Europe. In this study an epidemiologic survey on the prevalence of the causative agent of such infectious disease was performed in the area of Parma (Northern Italy) during 2002–2008. Serum samples belonging to 2336 patients and cerebrospinal fluid samples (belonging to 42 of the same patients) were analyzed for serologic diagnosis of LB. Direct laboratory assays [polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and cultivation] were performed on samples belonging to patients with the clinical suspicion of LB. The seroprevalence was 0.55% considering the subjects with both anti-B. burgdorferi IgG and IgM. The samples tested by culture and PCR were all negative except for a tick removed from the skin of a healthy man. The results suggest that infection by B. burgdorferi in this area quite rarely occurs.
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