Low seroprevalence of bartonella species in danish elite orienteers

Peter Schiellerup, Thomas Dyhr, Jean Marc Rolain, Marianne Christensen, Rasmus Damsgaard, Steen Ethelberg, Niels Fisker, Niels Frost Andersen, Didier Raoult, Karen A Krogfelt

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In the 1990s, studies were conducted to investigate 16 episodes of sudden unexpected cardiac death (SUCD) among Swedish elite orienteers during the period from 1979 to 1992. A case control study revealed that a significantly higher proportion of Swedish elite orienteers were B. elizabethae seropositive compared to controls. The aim of our study, designed as a case-control study, was to determine whether similarly high rates of B. elizabethae seropositivity were present among Danish elite orienteers. Cases were 43 elite orienteers; controls were 159 blood donors and 63 elite indoor sportsmen. All participants were tested for antibodies against B. henselae, B. quintana and B. elizabethae using immunofluorescent antibody tests. Surprisingly, Bartonella antibodies were only detected in sera from 5 persons: B. henselae from 1 elite orienteer, 1 handball player and 1 blood donor. B. elizabethae antibodies were detected in 1 handball player and 1 basketball player. We found no association between elite orienteers and the prevalence of Bartonella antibody positivity. This is in contrast to the Swedish study, and might be explained by the use of different serological methods in the 2 studies; to determine whether it is a true difference, a new study is needed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)604-6
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Bartonella Infections
  • Bartonella henselae
  • Bartonella quintana
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Serologic Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sports


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