A Tale of Two Spirochetes: Lyme Disease and Syphilis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Only two spirochetal infections are known to cause nervous system infection and damage: neurosyphilis and neuroborreliosis (nervous system Lyme disease). Diagnosis of both generally relies on indirect tools, primarily assessment of the host immune response to the organism. Reliance on these indirect measures poses some challenges, particularly as they are imperfect measures of treatment response. Despite this, both infections are known to be readily curable with straightforward antimicrobial regimens. The challenge is that, untreated, both infections can cause progressive nervous system damage. Although this can be microbiologically cured, the threat of permanent resultant neurologic damage, often severe in neurosyphilis and usually less so in neuroborreliosis, leads to considerable concern and emphasizes the need for prevention or early and accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-291
Number of pages15
JournalNeurologic Clinics
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

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Borrelia burgdorferi
Syphilis
Nervous System
Neurosyphilis
Infection
Lyme Neuroborreliosis
Early Diagnosis

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

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abstract = "Only two spirochetal infections are known to cause nervous system infection and damage: neurosyphilis and neuroborreliosis (nervous system Lyme disease). Diagnosis of both generally relies on indirect tools, primarily assessment of the host immune response to the organism. Reliance on these indirect measures poses some challenges, particularly as they are imperfect measures of treatment response. Despite this, both infections are known to be readily curable with straightforward antimicrobial regimens. The challenge is that, untreated, both infections can cause progressive nervous system damage. Although this can be microbiologically cured, the threat of permanent resultant neurologic damage, often severe in neurosyphilis and usually less so in neuroborreliosis, leads to considerable concern and emphasizes the need for prevention or early and accurate diagnosis and treatment.",
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A Tale of Two Spirochetes : Lyme Disease and Syphilis. / Halperin, John.

In: Neurologic Clinics, Vol. 28, No. 1, 01.02.2010, p. 277-291.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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AB - Only two spirochetal infections are known to cause nervous system infection and damage: neurosyphilis and neuroborreliosis (nervous system Lyme disease). Diagnosis of both generally relies on indirect tools, primarily assessment of the host immune response to the organism. Reliance on these indirect measures poses some challenges, particularly as they are imperfect measures of treatment response. Despite this, both infections are known to be readily curable with straightforward antimicrobial regimens. The challenge is that, untreated, both infections can cause progressive nervous system damage. Although this can be microbiologically cured, the threat of permanent resultant neurologic damage, often severe in neurosyphilis and usually less so in neuroborreliosis, leads to considerable concern and emphasizes the need for prevention or early and accurate diagnosis and treatment.

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