Neurosyphilis and Lyme neuroborreliosis

Rick Dersch, Ameeta E Singh
Current Opinion in Neurology 2021 March 11

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Neurosyphilis (NS) and Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB) are spirochetal diseases with distinct clinical manifestations. The diagnosis of NS remains challenging due to imperfect diagnostic criteria and testing modalities. With LNB, misconceptions about diagnosis and treatment lead to considerable morbidity and drug related adverse effects.

RECENT FINDINGS: Although studies continue investigating alternate approaches and new diagnostic tests for NS, few data exist to change current approaches to diagnosis, management or follow up. In the diagnosis of LNB, the chemokine CXCL13 shows promising diagnostic accuracy. A systematic review discourages the use of cell-based assays when investigating Lyme disease. Clinical studies show no benefit from extended antibiotic treatment for patients with unspecific symptoms labelled as having Lyme disease.

SUMMARY: The diagnosis of NS may be delayed due to a lack of specificity of findings, low suspicion for syphilis, and/or similarities in presentation to other diseases. A high index of suspicion for syphilis is required provide timely diagnosis and management of NS. Fortunately, penicillin remains the treatment of choice. Overdiagnosis and overtreatment in patients labelled as having Lyme disease can be avoided by an evidence-based approach towards diagnosis and treatment.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"