|Classification and external resources|
Neuroborreliosis is a disorder of the central nervous system caused by infection with a spirochete of the genus Borrelia. The microbiological progression of the disease is similar to that of neurosyphilis, another spirochetal infection. Neuroborreliosis occurs as a rare manifestation of late Lyme disease, although it has also been reported during early infection.
Signs and symptoms
Neuroborreliosis is often preceded by the typical symptoms of Lyme disease, which include erythema migrans and flu-like symptoms such as fever and muscle aches. Neurologic symptoms of neuroborreliosis include the meningoradiculitis (which is more common in European patients), cranial nerve abnormalities, and altered mental status. Sensory findings may also be present. Rarely, a progressive form of encephalomyelitis may occur. In children, symptoms of neuroborreliosis include headache, sleep disturbance, and symptoms associated with increased intracranial pressure, such as papilledema, can occur. Less common childhood symptoms can include meningitis, myelitis, ataxia, and chorea. Ocular Lyme disease has also been reported, as has neuroborreliosis affecting the spinal cord, but neither of these findings are common.
A number of diseases can produce symptoms similar to those of Lyme neuroborreliosis. They include:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis
- Viral meningitis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Bell's palsy
In the US, neuroborreliosis is typically treated with intravenous antibiotics which cross the blood–brain barrier, such as penicillins, ceftriaxone, or cefotaxime. One relatively small randomized controlled trial suggested ceftriaxone was more effective than penicillin in the treatment of neuroborreliosis. Small observational studies suggest ceftriaxone is also effective in children. The recommended duration of treatment is 14 to 28 days.
Several studies from Europe have suggested oral doxycycline is equally as effective as intravenous ceftriaxone in treating neuroborreliosis. Doxycycline has not been widely studied as a treatment in the US, but antibiotic sensitivities of prevailing European and US isolates of Borrelia burgdorferi tend to be identical. However, doxycycline is generally not prescribed to children due to the risk of bone and tooth damage.
Discreditied or doubtful treatments for neuroborreliosis include:
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
- Colloidal silver
- Injections of hydrogen peroxide and bismacine
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