Protective Clothing, Repellents Shown Effective Against Lyme

Wearing protective apparel while outdoors was 40 percent effective and using tick repellents on the skin or clothing while outdoors was 20 percent effective in preventing infection with Lyme disease, researchers report in the February 2008 issue of CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases. The authors, from the Yale University School of Medicine, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, and CDC in Fort Collins, Colo., said officials frequently recommend these protective measures to ward off Lyme (LD) in endemic areas, but there has been little study of their effectiveness. They judge both measures to be effective.

Their study (www.cdc.gov/eid/content/14/2/210.htm) involved 709 patients from 15 to 70 years old whose health care providers had reported them to the Connecticut Department of Public Health for having LD from January 2000 to February 2003. Controls were people of the same age; similar proportions of both groups had received Lyme vaccine, according to their paper.

The protective measure of inspecting one's body for ticks and removing them was not found to be an effective preventive measure, nor was using acaricides on one's property, the researchers found. They found occupational exposure did not appear to be a risk factor for cases classified as definite or possible LD, but when they excluded controls with a history of LD in the past, occupational exposure was a risk factor for the disease.

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