, Volume 171, Issue 11, pp 1619-1624,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 11 Jul 2012

Rational diagnostic strategies for Lyme borreliosis in children and adolescents: recommendations by the Committee for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinations of the German Academy for Pediatrics and Adolescent Health


The varying clinical manifestations of Lyme borreliosis, transmitted by Ixodes ricinus and caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, frequently pose diagnostic problems. Diagnostic strategies vary between early and late disease manifestations and usually include serological methods. Erythema migrans is pathognomonic and does not require any further laboratory investigations. In contrast, the diagnosis of neuroborreliosis requires the assessment of serum and cerebrospinal fluid. Lyme arthritis is diagnosed in the presence of newly recognized arthritis and high-titer serum IgG antibodies against B. burgdorferi. The committee concludes the following recommendations: Borrelial serology should only be ordered in case of well-founded clinical suspicion for Lyme borreliosis, i.e., manifestations compatible with the diagnosis. Tests for borrelial genomic sequences in ticks or lymphocyte proliferation assays should not be ordered. When results of such tests or of serological investigations that were not indicated are available, they should not influence therapeutic decisions. Laboratories should be cautious when interpreting results of serological tests and abstain from giving therapeutic recommendations and from proposing retesting after some time without intimate knowledge of patient's history and disease manifestations.

A previous version of these recommendations has been published in German language in Kinderärztliche Praxis (2011; 82:122) and on the website of the German Academy for Pediatrics and Adolescent Health (www.dakj.de).