Comparison of Neuroborreliosis Between Children and Adults

Katarzyna Krawczuk, Piotr Czupryna, Sławomir Pancewicz, Elżbieta Ołdak, Monika Król, Anna Moniuszko-Malinowska
Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 2020, 39 (1): 7-11

BACKGROUND: Lyme neuroborreliosis (NB) is a tick-borne infectious disorder of the nervous system caused by Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes. There are not many data available regarding the differences in the course of NB in children and adults. The aim of our study was to compare the clinical course of NB between children and adults.

METHODS: Retrospective analysis of medical documentation of 181 patients with NB was performed. The patients were divided into 2 groups: Group I: 57 children with NB; Group II: 124 adults with NB. Medical data, such as patients' age, sex, place of living (residence), time from a tick bite, subjective complaints, general examination results, laboratory parameters and treatment were analyzed.

RESULTS: In children, the most common symptoms were headache (89.5%), neck stiffness (64.9%) and nausea and vomiting (56.1%). In adults, the most common symptoms were headache (77.4%), facial nerve palsy (59.7%), neck stiffness (59.7%), vertigo (41.9%) and lumbosacral region pain (37.1%). Bannwarth's syndrome was observed in 10.5% of children and 36.3% of adults. In cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in children, the pleocytosis at admission was higher than in adults, but protein concentration was significantly lower. There were no differences in percentage of mononuclear cells in CSF smear between the groups. In CSF examination after treatment, a decrease in pleocytosis and protein concentration was observed in both groups. Analysis of effectiveness of treatment mostly with third generation cephalosporins (defined as complete recovery) between the groups, calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method and compared with the use of the log-rank test, showed no significant differences between children and adults (log-rank P = 0.619).

CONCLUSIONS: In children, NB more frequently presented as meningitis, and in adults in the form of Bannwarth's syndrome. CSF pleocytosis in children with NB was higher than in adults, while the protein concentration in children was lower. Outcomes in children and adults were favorable and did not differ after standard NB treatment.

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