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Lyme arthritis in Southern Norway - an endemic area for Lyme Borreliosis

Glenn Haugeberg12*, Inger Johanne W Hansen1, Tone Skarpaas3, Sølvi Noraas3 and Vivian Kjelland45

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Rheumatology, Hospital of Southern Norway Trust, Servicebox 416, 4604 Kristiansand, Norway

2 Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway

3 Department of medical microbiology, Hospital of Southern Norway Trust, Kristiansand, Norway

4 Department of Engineering and Science, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway

5 Research Unit, Hospital of Southern Norway Trust, Kristiansand, Norway

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:185  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-185

Published: 5 April 2014



Despite Southern Norway is an endemic area for Lyme borreliosis there is a lack of data on Lyme arthritis (LA). In the literature controversies exist if acute LA can develop into chronic arthritis. Our objective was to identify and characterize patients with LA in Southern Norway and explore disease course after antibiotic treatment.


Patients aged 20 years or older with arthritis and a positive serology for Borrelia burgdorferi infection (IgG and/or IgM) suspected of having LA were consecutively recruited either from general practitioners or from hospital departments.


From January 2007 to December 2010 a total of 27 patients were assessed. Mean (range) age was 56 years (41–80) and mean symptom duration prior to inclusion was 11.2 weeks (1 day – 2 years). Definite LA was diagnosed in 16 patients, probable LA in 5 patients and 6 patients were concluded to have other arthritis disorders. Among the 21 LA patients 20 had mono-arthritis (knee 18, ankle 2) and 1 had polyarthritis.

All LA patients responded favourable to antibiotic treatment and none of the patients developed chronic arthritis after long term follow up, not even in LA patients who had intraarticular glucocorticosteroid (GC) injection prior to antibiotic treatment.


Our data shows that LA in Southern Norway is a benign disease which successfully can be treated with antibiotics even in patients treated with GC prior to antibiotics.