Failure of Borrelia Burgdorferi to Survive in the Skin of Patients With Antibiotic-Treated Lyme Disease

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1992 Jul;27(1):34-7. doi: 10.1016/0190-9622(92)70152-6.


Background: Borrelia burgdorferi has been cultivated from clinically normal skin (previous erythema migrans sites) after antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease.

Objective: We investigated the possibility of similar findings in 13 of our patients with antibiotic-treated Lyme disease from whom B. burgdorferi was cultivated from their erythema migrans lesions before antibiotic therapy.

Methods: After treatment with doxycycline or a combination of amoxicillin and probenecid, skin biopsy specimens were obtained from clinically normal skin adjacent to the previous biopsy sites and cultured.

Results: B. burgdorferi was not cultivated from these posttreatment biopsy sites.

Conclusion: The failure of B. burgdorferi to survive in the former erythema migrans sites of our antibiotic-treated patients, as well as their favorable clinical response, supports the use of doxycycline or combined amoxicillin and probenecid in the treatment of early Lyme disease but does not preclude the survival of the organism in other tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amoxicillin / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / isolation & purification*
  • Doxycycline / administration & dosage
  • Erythema Multiforme / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Probenecid / administration & dosage
  • Skin / microbiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Amoxicillin
  • Doxycycline
  • Probenecid