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Article
September 1992

Absence of Lyme Borreliosis Among Patients With Presumed Bell's Palsy

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology (Dr Kuiper), Medical Microbiology (Drs Kuiper, de Jongh, Vos, and Dankert), and Facial Research (Ear-Nose-Throat) (Dr Devriese), Academic Medical Center, University Hospital, University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands).

Arch Neurol. 1992;49(9):940-943. doi:10.1001/archneur.1992.00530330062017
Abstract

• In a prospective study, 69 patients with a presumed idiopathic (Bell's) peripheral facial palsy were clinically and serologically evaluated for the presence of Lyme borreliosis. In addition, their clinical spectrum was compared with clinical manifestations collected retrospectively in nine patients with symptomatic peripheral facial palsy due to Lyme borreliosis. The seroprevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies, determined by flagellum enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, among 69 patients with idiopathic peripheral facial palsy (6%) and 153 healthy controls (4.5%) was not significantly different (odds ratio, 1.28; 95% confidence interval, 0.27 to 5.25). None of the patients with idiopathic peripheral facial palsy had or experienced the development of Lyme borreliosis. All patients with Lyme peripheral facial palsy had additional manifestations not present in patients with idiopathic peripheral facial palsy. These findings show that patients with a Lyme peripheral facial palsy can be differentiated from patients with idiopathic peripheral facial palsy by clinical examination. Therefore, screening of antibodies to B burgdorferi among patients with idiopathic peripheral facial palsy without additional manifestations is not recommended.

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