Background. Lyme borreliosis disease results from infection by members of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex. The most common clinical presentation of Lyme borreliosis is erythema migrans (EM). To gain knowledge of the epidemiological parameters and the risk factors of EM in Slovenia, a survey has been carried out in 2010.
Methods. A short anonymous and self-administrated questionnaire was sent to 4917 notified EM patients in 2010, aiming to collect epidemiological data and assess socio-economic determinants in patients with EM.
Results. Three thousand and five (61%) patients with EM returned completed questionnaires. One thousand and nine hundred twenty-nine (74%) patients noted the tick where the EM developed. The tick bite was most often located on the legs in adults and in the head/neck area in children. The time that elapsed before the tick has been removed increased significantly with age. The attached tick was most frequently overlooked in preschool children. Nearly 70% of patients believed that they contracted the infection with borrelia near home. Infection away from their permanent residence was more often the case in those with a higher level of education and in 15-49 age groups. Compared to the Slovenian general population over 14 years of age, those with a higher level of education, the unemployed and farmers were overrepresented among the EM patients.
Conclusions. The risk of Lyme borreliosis is widespread in Slovenia, with some areas more affected then others. Determinants of exposure to infected ticks are different, and depend on the socio-economic status and demographic characteristics.