Lyme arthritis in European children and adolescents. The Pediatric Rheumatology Collaborative Group

Arthritis Rheum. 1995 Mar;38(3):361-8. doi: 10.1002/art.1780380310.


Objective: To evaluate and describe Lyme arthritis in European children and adolescents.

Methods: This was a prospective multicenter study. The diagnosis of Lyme arthritis required the exclusion of other diseases and positive findings on serology for IgG antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunoblotting, and polymerase chain reaction techniques to identify infection by B burgdorferi were used.

Results: Among 62 children and adolescents with Lyme arthritis, only 1 had a preceding erythema migrans. Arthritis was episodic in 62% and was chronic at onset in 18%. The most common manifestation was monarthritis of the knee. Joint involvement in patients with oligoarthritis was predominantly unilateral or symmetric. Arthralgia was very rare. Treatment with 1 or 2 courses of different antibiotics resulted in disappearance of the arthritis in 77% of the patients.

Conclusion: The clinical presentation of Lyme arthritis in children is different from that in adults. The calculated incidence of Lyme arthritis in persons under the age of 17 years (4/100,000) exceeds previous estimations.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Arthritis / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis / epidemiology
  • Arthritis / etiology
  • Arthritis / therapy
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Incidence
  • Lyme Disease / complications
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis*
  • Lyme Disease / epidemiology
  • Lyme Disease / therapy
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Synovial Fluid / cytology
  • Synovial Fluid / microbiology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antibodies, Bacterial