Intended for healthcare professionals


Good outlook for patients with confirmed Lyme neuroborreliosis

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 30 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2284
  1. Saul N Faust, professor of paediatric immunology and infectious diseases and director1,
  2. Stephen Barton, retired marketer and Lyme disease patient2,
  3. Caroline Rayment, general practitioner3,
  4. Norma O’Flynn, chief operating officer and general practitioner4
  1. 1Southampton NIHR Clinical Research Facility, Southampton, UK
  2. 2Salisbury, UK
  3. 3Burley in Wharfedale, West Yorkshire, UK
  4. 4National Guideline Centre, Royal College of Physicians, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: S Faust s.faust{at}

New study should kick start a more rigorous approach to Lyme research

In the linked paper (doi:10.1136/bmj.k1998), Obel and colleagues report on one of the largest, and highest quality longitudinal follow-up studies to date of people with neurological forms of Lyme disease.1 The study included more than 2000 people with neuroborreliosis and 20 000 controls and the data are reassuring. If you are a patient with a confirmed microbiological diagnosis and neurological symptoms of Lyme disease, this will have no effect on your survival, wellbeing (health status), or social parameters (such as school results and marriage and divorce rates) 10 years after your diagnosis compared with a control population.

This means that you will be able to recover fully and lead a normal working life, although if you are an adult you may have marginally less income and activity in the labour market than you did before the infection (rather than in comparison with the control population). Development, health, and educational achievement were not different in children diagnosed as having neuroborreliosis compared with controls. A moderately increased risk of non-melanotic skin cancer in people …

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