The clinical presentation, treatment and outcome of serologically confirmed paediatric Lyme disease in the Republic of Ireland over a 5-year period: a retrospective cohort study

Karina M. Forde*, Joanne O’Gorman, Patrick J. Gavin, Matthew S. Dryden, Deirbhile Keady, Belinda Hanahoe, Colm McDonnell, Lorraine Power, Bartley Cryan, James Sweeney, Karl F. Conyard, Michael J. O’Grady

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Lyme disease (LD) is the most common tick-borne illness in Europe. Population-based studies in European children are few. This study aimed to assess the incidence, clinical presentation, treatment and outcome of serologically confirmed paediatric LD in the Republic of Ireland over a 5-year period. A retrospective review of records from accredited laboratories performing Borrelia burgdorferi serological testing was undertaken. Proformas were distributed to clinicians of children and adolescents with positive Lyme serology. Data were requested regarding clinical presentation, treatment and outcome. Updated NICE guidelines were used to classify clinical cases. Serology testing for B. burgdorferi was performed on 2908 samples. Sixty-three (2.2%) children were two-tier positive, generating a crude annual incidence rate of 1.15/100,000. Proformas were returned for 55 (87%) and 47 met clinical and laboratory criteria for LD. Twenty-seven (57%) presented with non-focal symptoms (erythema migrans and/or influenza-like symptoms), and 20 (43%) with focal symptoms (cranial nerve involvement, 11; CNS involvement, 8; arthritis, 1). Median age at presentation was 8.2 (2.5–17.9) years. Seventeen (36%) acquired LD overseas. Twenty-five (83%) of the remaining 30 children acquired infection in the West/Northwest of Ireland. Full resolution of symptoms was reported in 97% of those with available data. Serologically confirmed LD in children is relatively rare in the Republic of Ireland. Ninety-eight percent of children tested were seronegative. Of the seropositive cases, 40% could have been diagnosed based on clinical findings alone. Neurological presentations (40%) were common. Full resolution of symptoms occurred in almost all (97%) where data were available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-734
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Erythema migrans
  • Lyme disease
  • Neuroborreliosis

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