Pediatric Lyme disease: systematic assessment of post-treatment symptoms and quality of life

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Pediatric research




BACKGROUND: Lyme disease is common among children and adolescents. Antibiotic treatment is effective, yet some patients report persistent symptoms following treatment, with or without functional impairment. This study characterized long-term outcome of pediatric patients with Lyme disease and evaluated the case definition of post-treatment Lyme disease (PTLD) syndrome. METHODS: The sample included 102 children with confirmed Lyme disease diagnosed 6 months-10 years prior to enrollment (M = 2.0 years). Lyme diagnosis and treatment information was extracted from the electronic health record; parent report identified presence, duration, and impact of symptoms after treatment. Participants completed validated questionnaires assessing health-related quality of life, physical mobility, fatigue, pain, and cognitive impact. RESULTS: Most parents reported their child's symptoms resolved completely, although time to full resolution varied. Twenty-two parents (22%) indicated their child had at least one persistent symptom >6 months post-treatment, 13 without functional impairment (PTLD symptoms) and 9 with functional impairment (PTLD syndrome). Children with PTLD syndrome had lower parent-reported Physical Summary scores and greater likelihood of elevated fatigue. CONCLUSIONS: In the current study, most children with Lyme disease experienced full resolution of symptoms, including those who initially met PTLD syndrome criteria. Effective communication about recovery rates and common symptoms that may persist post-treatment is needed. IMPACT: The majority of pediatric patients treated for all stages of Lyme disease reported full resolution of symptoms within 6 months. 22% of pediatric patients reported one or more symptom persisting >6 months, 9% with and 13% without accompanying functional impairment. Effective communication with families about recovery rates and common symptoms that may persist post-treatment of Lyme disease is needed.


Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences