Risk factors for lyme disease in a small rural community in Northern California

Robert S. Lane, Stephen A. Manweiler, Harrison A. Stubbs, Evelyne T. Lennette, John E Madigan, Paul E. Lavoie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


A 1-year prospective study of risk factors for seropositivity to and contraction of Lyme disease among members of a small rural community (population, approximately 150) was conducted in northwestern California in 1988-1989.The initial rate of seropositivity for Borrelia burgdorferi for 119 current or former residents ranged from 15 to 20% among three laboratories, with statistically significant interlaboratory agreement. Questionnaires were completed by 93 current residents at entry and 80 residents a year later to evaluate the association of serologic status with 20 categorical and 47 continuous variables, seropositive subjects had resided in the study area about 2 years longer, were bitten by unspecified biting flies more often, and were less likely to have engaged in hiking than seronegative subjects.One of 59 seronegative subjects sero-converted a year later (annual incidence = 1.7%).The cumulative frequency of seropositivity for Lyme disease in the study population was ≥24%.Of 83 subjects examined physically, 13 were diagnosed as having definite and 18 as having probable Lyme disease.The seropositivity rate was significantly higher (38.7%) among individuals with definite/probable Lyme disease than in asymptomatic subjects (13.5%). Subjects who were seronegative or free of Lyme disease reported nearly as many tick bites as subjects who were seropositive or had a diagnosis of the disease. Age, time spent outdoors in the fall multiplied by a clothing index, and woodcutting were significantly associated with Lyme disease in logistic regression analyses. Am J Epidemiol 1992; 136: 1358-68.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1358-1368
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 1992


  • Borrelia
  • Lyme disease
  • Ticks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Epidemiology


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