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Arch Dis Child. 2012 Mar;97(3):215-20. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2011-300526. Epub 2012 Jan 13.

Lyme meningitis, the major cause of childhood meningitis in an endemic area: a population based study.

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Department of Paediatrics, Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway.



To evaluate the epidemiology of infectious meningitis in children in a Lyme borreliosis (LB) endemic area, and to study how clinical and laboratory characteristics may distinguish between different types of childhood meningitis.


Retrospective, population based study.


A paediatric department serving all children (62 000) in a costal LB endemic region of southwestern Norway.


All children with cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis aged 3 months to 14 years.


Epidemiological, clinical and laboratory characteristics of different types of childhood meningitis.


Infectious meningitis was diagnosed in 211 children (annual incidence 38/100 000). Lyme meningitis (LM) was identified in 142 children (67%), non-Lyme aseptic meningitis in 46 children (22%) and bacterial meningitis in 23 children (11%). Age, month of admission and clinical and laboratory characteristics differed between the groups. An aetiological agent was found in 89% of children. The positive predictive value for having LM if the child had facial nerve palsy or head and/or neck stiffness (meningism) as the only symptom was 97% for both variables. Symptoms of cerebral involvement or signs of systemic inflammation were rare in children with LM compared to children non-Lyme aseptic meningitis.


LM was diagnosed in two-thirds of children with infectious meningitis in this LB endemic area. Distinct clinical characteristics distinguished the majority of children with LM from children with non-Lyme aseptic meningitis and bacterial meningitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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