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Lyme borreliosis is the most frequent tickborne++
disease of man in the Northern hemisphere. A variety of systems may be involved. The most frequent manifestations in childhood include erythema migrans, meningitis, cranial nerve palsy and arthritis. Erythema migrans usually is easily recognised and determination of antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi should not be performed. Childhood neuroborreliosis is characterised mostly by aseptic meningitis with or without cranial nerve palsy, in most cases facial palsy. Basic CSF findings often show a combined evidence of lymphocytic pleocytosis, IgM-class dominance in intrathecal humoral immune++ response, and blood-CSF barrier dysfunction. Calculation of the Borrelia burgdorferi specific antibody index (according to Reiber) proved to be the most sensitive method for detecting intrathecal synthesis of specific antibodies.
Lyme arthritis presents initially as episodic oligoarthritis, mostly involving the knee joint, and may turn into chronic monoarthritis of the knee; usually high titers of IgG antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi are found. The rarer manifestations encephalomyelitis, chronic arthritis, carditis and inflammatory eye
disease may be difficult to diagnosis due to clinical ambiguity and problems in the interpretation of serological results. Antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi found by sensitive Elisa must always be confirmed by immunoblot analysis, but sometimes immunoblot analysis is more sensitive than Elisa. Treatment is by antibiotics, amoxicillin or doxyciclin for erythema migrans, and i.v. third generation cephalosporins for all other manifestations. Even after successful antibiotic therapy, antibodies may persist for months and years and no further antibiotic treatment is necessary in the absence of attributable clinical manifestations. The differentiation between a persisting immune response and a persisting infection therefore has to be based upon the clinical symptoms, non-specific laboratory data and the development of the antibody titers.