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Lyme borreliosis–an overdiagnosed disease?

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Abstract

Ninety-nine patients who were referred to a clinic for infectious diseases on suspicion of
Lyme borreliosis and whose major symptoms were fatigue, headache, myalgia and arthralgia were studied retrospectively to find out if there was any difference in symptomatology between patients who were seropositive or seronegative to Borrelia burgdorferi. 64/82 (78%) patients remembered one or more tick bites during previous years and 32/74 (43%) patients had a history of erythema migrans. Fatigue, headache, myalgia and arthralgia occurred in 84%, 72%, 54%, and 63% of the patients, respectively. 62/99 (63%) patients had an elevated IgM and/or IgG antibody titer to B. burgdorferi. There was no difference in frequency of symptoms between seropositive and seronegative individuals. 48/99 (49%) patients were treated with antibiotics, mostly oral doxycycline. Only 50% were improved after treatment. On follow-up 2 to 4 years after the first visit, 40% of the patients had recovered completely, 31% were improved, 24% reported unaltered symptoms and four patients were impaired. There was no difference in symptoms on follow-up between seropositive or seronegative patients. It is concluded that there probably is an overdiagnosis of
Lyme borreliosis and that better microbiological methods are needed to confirm active
disease.

Infection. 1997 May-Jun;25(3):140-3.

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