Objectives: The existence of chronic neuroborreliosis is controversial. The aim of our study was to investigate the existence and kind of persistent symptoms in patients previously treated because of neurological symptoms as a result of neuroborreliosis.
Materials and methods: A total of 106 patients with neuroborreliosis, according to established criteria, and a control group of 123 patients with Borrelia induced erythema migrans diagnosed in a general practitioner office were studied. A questionnaire was sent to patients and controls concerning their health situation. Time from onset of neurological symptoms to the questionnaire send out was 32 months (mean) for the patients with neuroborreliosis and 33 months (mean) for the controls.
Results: Fifty per cent of the individuals in the patient group compared with 16% of the individuals in the control group showed persistent complaints after their Borrelia infection (P < 0.0001). The most significant differences between the groups were the presence of neuropsychiatric symptoms such as headache, attention problems, memory difficulties and depression. Paresthesia, pain and persistent facial palsy was also significantly more common in patients treated because of neuroborreliosis.
Conclusion: Our study shows that persisting neurological symptoms are common after a neuroborreliosis infection. The pathological mechanisms that lay behind the development of chronic symptoms, however, are still uncertain.