Risk factors associated with the frequency of antibodies to Francisella tularensis in two areas from TurkeyÖzlem Oyardı, Turabi Güneş, Zeynep Özgen Özdemir
Francisella tularensis is a zoonotic microorganism that can infect different species of animals and sometimes humans. The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of F. tularensis in people from two areas in Turkey (Sivas and Tokat). This is a retrospective study of the serum samples collected in 2006 from people living in rural areas (n:360) and from people living in urban areas (n:90). F. tularensis-IgG antibodies were investigated by ELISA method. Antibody positivity against F. tularensis was found in 7.5% of 360 serum collected from rural areas and 1.1% of 90 serum collected from urban areas (OR 7.216, 95% CI 0.967-53.836, p=0.025). While there was no difference in F. tularensis seropositivity between different genders (p=0.424), tick contacts (p=0.303) and occupational groups (p=0.807), F. tularensis seropositivity was found to be higher in the Tokat region than in the Sivas region (p=0.047). Moreover, risk factors were observed in people over 40 years of age (p=0.045) and in those who consume fresh cheese (p=0.036). Our findings revealed that tularemia cases can be seen in these regions even though tick bite cases in the Sivas and Tokat regions were not an important influence on the transmission of F. tularensis to humans on the dates of our research.