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Acute facial nerve palsy in children: how often is it lyme borreliosis?

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Abstract

Acute facial nerve palsy in children may be caused by infection by Borrelia burgdorferi, but the incidence of facial nerve palsy and the proportion of facial nerve palsy caused by
Lyme borreliosis may vary considerably between areas. Furthermore, it is not well known how often facial nerve palsy caused by
Lyme borreliosis is associated with meningitis. In this population-based study, children admitted for acute facial nerve palsy to Stavanger University Hospital during 9 y from 1996 to 2004 were investigated by a standard protocol including a lumbar puncture. A total of 115 children with facial nerve palsy were included, giving an annual incidence of 21 per 100,000 children. 75 (65%) of these were diagnosed as
Lyme borreliosis, with all cases occurring from May to November. Lymphocytic meningitis was present in all but 1 of the children with facial nerve palsy caused by
Lyme borreliosis where a lumbar puncture was performed (n = 73). In this endemic area for Borrelia burgdorferi, acute facial nerve palsy in children was common. The majority of cases were caused by
Lyme borreliosis, and nearly all of these were associated with lymphocytic meningitis.

Scand J Infect Dis. 2007;39(5):425-31.

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