Borrelia burgdorferi in a newborn despite oral penicillin for Lyme borreliosis during pregnancy

Published Date
The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1988 Apr;7(4):286-9
Weber K
Bratzke HJ
Neubert U
Wilske B
Duray PH

Lyme borreliosis (LB) is a spirochetosis which, like syphilis, develops in three stages: erythema migrans, constitutional symptoms and/or lymphocytoma (Stage 1); carditis, early neurological involvement and/or musculoskeletal symptoms (Stage 2); and arthritis, acrodermatisis chronica atrophicans and/or chronic encephalitis as part of Stage 3. The causative agent of LB is Borrelia burgdoferi.

Spirochetes have been identified morphologically in spleen, renal tubules and bone marrow in a newborn having died of cardiac abnormalities and in heart, liver, adrenal gland and brain of a stillborn. In addition, B.burgdorferi has been cultured from fetal liver. The mothers of these infants did not receive antimicrobial therapy during pregnancy.

We now demonstrate B.burgdorferi in the brain and liver of a newborn whose mother had been treated with oral penicillin for LB during the first trimester of pregnancy.