Physician preferences in the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease in the United States

Infection. Mar-Apr 1996;24(2):182-6. doi: 10.1007/BF01713336.


To assess physician preferences in the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, questionnaires were sent to physicians in various Lyme disease endemic areas in the U.S. Seventy-eight responses were analyzed. Both ELISA and Western blot were ordered by 86% of responders. Fifty percent of responders believed that 25% or more of patients who have Lyme disease were seronegative. The treatment was influenced by physician specialty. Antibiotic treatment for tick bite was prescribed by 20% of responders. Erythema migrans rash was treated by all responders without serologic confirmation. The median treatment duration of erythema migrans was 4 weeks. For post-erythema migrans Lyme disease, 43% of responders treat 3 months or more; for chronic Lyme disease, 57% of responders treat 3 months or more. Our survey documents significant differences between published recommendations and actual practices. Physician education and clinical trials are needed to clarify the reasons for these differences.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amoxicillin / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bites and Stings / drug therapy*
  • Blotting, Western / statistics & numerical data
  • Doxycycline / therapeutic use
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Erythema Chronicum Migrans / diagnosis
  • Erythema Chronicum Migrans / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis*
  • Lyme Disease / drug therapy*
  • Penicillins / therapeutic use
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Serologic Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tetracyclines / therapeutic use
  • Ticks / microbiology
  • United States


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Penicillins
  • Tetracyclines
  • Amoxicillin
  • Doxycycline