Somatic symptom disorder should be suspected in children with alleged chronic Lyme disease

Eur J Pediatr. 2019 Aug;178(8):1297-1300. doi: 10.1007/s00431-019-03416-6. Epub 2019 Jun 29.


We report a case series of seven children admitted to a tertiary level pediatric ward for long-lasting physical symptoms with a previous diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease. In these children, medical history and clinical features were strongly suggestive of a psychopathological disorder, mainly a somatic symptom disorder. What is Known: • There is an increasing number of diagnoses of chronic Lyme disease both in North America and in Europe. Adults receive this diagnosis to explain chronic physical complaints often with negative history and serology. What is New: • Somatic symptom disorder should be suspected in children and adolescents with non-specific symptoms diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease.

Keywords: Borrelia burgdorferi; Chronic Lyme disease; Doctor shopping; Somatic symptom disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Post-Lyme Disease Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Post-Lyme Disease Syndrome / psychology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology