Journal Article

Persistence of Immunoglobulin M or Immunoglobulin G Antibody Responses to <i>Borrelia burgdorferi</i> 10–20 Years after Active Lyme Disease

Robert A. Kalish, Gail McHugh, John Granquist, Barry Shea, Robin Ruthazer and Allen C. Steere

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 33, issue 6, pages 780-785
Published in print September 2001 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online September 2001 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/322669
Persistence of Immunoglobulin M or Immunoglobulin G Antibody Responses to Borrelia burgdorferi 10–20 Years after Active Lyme Disease

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The interpretation of serological results for patients who had Lyme disease many years ago is not well defined. We studied the serological status of 79 patients who had had Lyme disease 10–20 years ago and did not currently have signs or symptoms of active Lyme disease. Of the 40 patients who had had early Lyme disease alone, 4 (10%) currently had IgM responses to Borrelia burgdorferi, and 10 (25%) still had IgG reactivity to the spirochete, as determined by a 2-test approach (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot). Of the 39 patients who had had Lyme arthritis, 6 (15%) currently had IgM responses and 24 (62%) still had IgG reactivity to the spirochete. IgM or IgG antibody responses to B. burgdorferi may persist for 10–20 years, but these responses are not indicative of active infection.

Journal Article.  3439 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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