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Morphoea is neither associated with features of Borrelia burgdorferi infection, nor is this agent detectable in lesional skin by polymerase chain reaction.

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The aetiology of morphoea is still unknown. Borrelia burgdorferi as a causative agent of morphoea has been discussed since 1985, but the relationship remains uncertain.


We aimed to find evidence for infection with B. burgdorferi by combined evaluation of different clinical and laboratory data in a group of 54 patients with morphoea.


In each patient, an evaluation of the case history was performed with regard to infection with B. burgdorferi, using a standardized questionnaire. Questions focused on previous tick bites and skin changes suspicious for erythema migrans (EM). The case history data of 52 patients were compared with those of 104 matched control subjects and of 25 patients with acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans (ACA). Serological examinations were performed in 53 patients with morphoea. Furthermore, lesional skin was examined for borrelial DNA in 33 patients, using nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the ospA and the borrelial rRNA gene.


Results of the questionnaire showed no differences between patients with morphoea and matched controls. In contrast, patients with ACA showed a much higher prevalence of tick bites and skin changes suspicious for EM as compared with patients with morphoea. Serological examination was positive in only one patient with morphoea alone and in two additional patients with coexistent ACA. No borrelial DNA was detected by PCR in lesional skin of 33 patients with morphoea.


No evidence was found for B. burgdorferi infection in patients with morphoea.

Br J Dermatol. 2000 Oct;143(4):780-5.

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