Post-Lyme borreliosis syndrome: a meta-analysis of reported symptoms

Int J Epidemiol. 2005 Dec;34(6):1340-5. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyi129. Epub 2005 Jul 22.


Background: This meta-analysis compares the prevalence of fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, and neurocognitive difficulties in patients who have had Lyme borreliosis (LB) and control subjects without LB.

Methods: Titles and abstracts in PubMed were reviewed for studies with data on the symptoms listed above that compared patients who had had LB with controls from the general population. Five studies with 504 patients and 530 controls were included in the meta-analysis.

Results: The prevalence of symptoms was significantly higher in the LB patients, with P-values between <0.00001 and 0.007 for 8 of the 10 symptoms in the three categories listed above. The higher prevalence of certain neurocognitive symptoms but not others, in the same pattern as reported in the literature, is further confirmation of this syndrome. The pattern of symptoms appears to be different from that seen in fibromyalgia, depression, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Conclusions: This meta-analysis provides strong evidence that some patients with LB have fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, and neurocognitive difficulties that may last for years despite antibiotic treatment.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthralgia / microbiology
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cognition Disorders / microbiology*
  • Fatigue / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / complications*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / microbiology*
  • Syndrome