Cutaneous manifestations of Lyme borreliosis

E Aberer, H Klade
Infection 1991, 19 (4): 284-6
The dermatological symptoms of Lyme borreliosis present with a typical clinical pattern and characteristic time of appearance. In contrast to other manifestations of Lyme borreliosis they are easily recognizable in most of the cases. In the first stage, erythema migrans arises at the tick bite site. With this symptom the diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis can be established. During all manifestations of Lyme borreliosis the history of erythema migrans is an important parameter to verify the diagnosis. In the early stage of disease a lymphocytic proliferation can appear at the tick bite site, at the ear lobe, or at the mamilla. Borrelia lymphocytoma can be diagnosed when antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi are positive. Years after infection, acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans arises at distal body sites causing livid swelling and gradually skin atrophy. Skin lesions can be accompanied by neuropathies, mostly of the lower legs, which in contrast to the skin lesions, do not respond well to antibiotic therapy. There is evidence that some cases of Shulman syndrome, morphea and lichen sclerosus et atrophicus might be related to a borrelia infection as indicated by cultivation of B. burgdorferi from skin biopsies of morphea and response to antibiotic treatment in some cases. The classical dermatological symptoms of Lyme borreliosis, erythema migrans, borrelia lymphocytoma and acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans respond to oral antibiotic treatment. In acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans parenteral antibiotic therapy is sometimes necessary.

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