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Hospitalisation by tick-borne diseases in the last 10 years in two hospitals in South Spain: analysis of tick exposure data collected in the Emergency Department

  • M. Rivera-Izquierdo (a1) (a2), L. M. Martín-delosReyes (a2), A. J. Láinez-Ramos-Bossini (a3), P. Ruiz-Díaz (a4), E Casado-Fernández (a4), A. Bueno-Cavanillas (a1) (a2) (a5) (a6) and V. Martínez-Ruiz (a2) (a5) (a6)...

Abstract

Tick-borne diseases (TBDs) can sometimes cause severe symptoms and lead to hospitalisation, but they often go unnoticed in the Emergency Department (ED). The aim of this study was twofold: (i) to describe the profile of patients hospitalised by TBDs; and (ii) to evaluate the data collected in the medical records from the ED in order to analyse their potential clinical consequences. A total of 84 cases that included all TBD diagnoses registered in the ED records were identified and analysed. These corresponded to all the hospitalisations by TBDs in the last 10 years (2009–2019) in two tertiary hospitals in Granada, Spain. Statistical analyses were made using RStudio. Coinciding with the absence of patient's report of exposure to ticks, 64.3% of TBDs were not suspected in the ED. Intensive care unit admission was required in 8.3% of cases, and the mortality rate was 2.4%. Non-suspected cases showed longer hospital stay (P < 0.001), treatment duration (P = 0.02) and delay in the initiation of antibiotic treatment (P < 0.001). Our findings indicate that symptoms associated with TBDs are highly non-specific. In the absence of explicit information related to potential tick exposure, TBDs are not initially suspected. As a consequence, elective treatment administration is delayed and hospitalisation time is prolonged. In conclusion, our results highlight the importance of addressing potential exposure to ticks during the ED contact with patients presenting with febrile syndrome.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Martín-delosReyes Luis Miguel, E-mail: luismiguelmr@ugr.es

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