Lyme disease and seventh nerve paralysis in children

Am J Otolaryngol. 1997 Sep-Oct;18(5):320-3. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0709(97)90026-0.


Purpose: This study was undertaken to determine the frequency of Lyme disease (LD) as a cause of transient facial nerve palsy (FNP) in children. Acute onset FNP in children has been primarily associated with acute otitis media (AOM). Recently, LD has emerged in regions where the deer-tick vector is present and has been associated with multiple cranial neuropathies.

Patients and methods: Fifty children with transient FNP were evaluated and treated at our institution over a 5.5-year period.

Results: The rank of etiologies confirmed LD to now be the most common (50%), followed by AOM (12%), varicella (6%), Herpes zoster (4%), and coxsackievirus (2%). Thirteen children (26%) had idiopathic FNP consistent with Bell's palsy.

Conclusion: We conclude that transient FNP in children is most commonly caused by LD for regions with endemic infections caused by Borrelia burgdorferi.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Amoxicillin / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Doxycycline / therapeutic use
  • Facial Nerve / physiopathology
  • Facial Paralysis / etiology*
  • Facial Paralysis / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / complications*
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis
  • Lyme Disease / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Penicillins / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ticks


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Penicillins
  • Amoxicillin
  • Doxycycline