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Ann Med. 1996 Jun;28(3):235-40.

Lyme neuroborreliosis in children.

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Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, Goettingen, Germany.


Children are more likely than adults to be bitten by ticks and thus more likely to be infected by Borrelia burgdorferi. In a serosurvey the infection rate measured by immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies was 2.6%. In a prospective hospital-based multicentre study 169 children with Lyme neuroborreliosis were examined; the infection was diagnosed by detection of specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) using an IgM capture ELISA. The yearly incidence of Lyme neuroborreliosis was 5.8 cases per 100,000 children aged 1-13. Facial palsy and lymphocytic meningitis account for nearly 90% of all cases with neuroborreliosis indicating striking differences in the clinical spectrum between children and adults. Lyme borreliosis proves to be the most frequently verifiable cause of acute peripheral facial palsy in children, causing every second case of this disorder in the summer and autumn. In cases of facial palsy, nearly all patients with a positive history of tick bite or erythema migrans in the head and neck region show ipsilateral subsequent facial nerve palsy, suggesting a direct invasion via the affected nerve by Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme borreliosis is the third most frequent cause of lymphocytic meningitis in childhood. Inflammatory changes of the cerebrospinal fluid along with the presence of specific antibodies are mandatory for the diagnosis of Lyme neuroborreliosis. High-dose intravenous penicillin G as well as third-generation cephalosporins prove to be effective in paediatric Lyme neuroborreliosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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