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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Subjective health complaints are not associated with tick bites or antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in blood donors in western Norway: a cross-sectional study

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Reidar Hjetland, Harald Reiso, Camilla Ihlebæk, Roy M. Nilsen, Nils Grude, Elling Ulvestad
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12889-015-2026-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

RH conceived and designed the study and drafted the manuscript. CI, HR, NG and EU helped in the conception of the study. RMN helped in the statistical analyses. All authors read, revised and approved the final manuscript.



There is controversy about chronic health consequences of tick-borne infections, especially Lyme borreliosis. This study aims to assess whether general function, physical fitness and subjective health complaints are associated with tick bites or antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in blood donors.


Sera from 1,213 blood donors at four different blood banks in Sogn and Fjordane county in western Norway were obtained during January to June 2010, and analysed for specific IgG and IgM antibodies. A questionnaire including questions on tick bites, subjective health complaints, general function and physical fitness was completed.


Tick bites had been experienced by 65.7 % of the study population. 78 (6.4 %) were positive for IgG (9.7 % in men, 2.4 % in women), and 69 (5.7 %) for IgM (6.1 % in men, 5.1 % in women), verified by immunoblot. No association between number of experienced tick bites or seropositivity for Borrelia antibodies and subjective health complaints, reduced general function or reduced physical fitness was found.


The results do not support any association between tick bites or Borrelia antibodies and subjective health complaints in blood donors in an endemic area for Lyme borreliosis.
Additional file 1: Individual subjective health complaints relative to tick bites and Borrelia antibodies.
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