Dermatological manifestations of Lyme borreliosis

Robert R Mullegger
European Journal of Dermatology: EJD 2004, 14 (5): 296-309
Lyme borreliosis is a multisystem infectious disease caused by the tick-transmitted spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. About 80% of all Lyme borreliosis cases represent skin manifestations (dermatoborrelioses). The three characteristic dermatoborrelioses are erythema migrans, borrelial lymphocytoma, and acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans, which occur in different stages of the disease. Erythema migrans is the hallmark of early Lyme borreliosis, whereas acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans is the characteristic manifestation of late Lyme borreliosis. Several spirochetal factors (e.g. infection with different genospecies, co-infection with other tick-transmitted pathogens) as well as host factors (e.g. cytokine patterns at the site of infection) influence the course of the disease. Diagnosis in the early stage of Lyme borreliosis relies on the clinical picture, whereas serological, molecular, microbiological, and histopathological findings are important adjuncts in the diagnosis of later stages of the infection. Antibiotic treatment is necessary for all stages and manifestations of Lyme borreliosis. Doxycycline is the antibiotic of choice for most patients with dermatoborrelioses.

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