Isolation of Borrelia burgdorferi from biopsy specimens taken from healthy-looking skin of patients with Lyme borreliosis.

J Clin Microbiol. 1994 Mar;32,3:715-20.Isolation of Borrelia burgdorferi from biopsy
specimens taken from healthy-looking skin of patients with Lyme borreliosis. Kuiper H, van
Dam AP, Spanjaard L, de Jongh BM, Widjojokusumo A, Ramselaar TC, Cairo I, Vos K, Dankert
J. Department of Medical Microbiology, Academic Medical Centre, University Hospital,
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Erythematous skin lesions due to infection with Borrelia burgdorferi will often disappear without
antibiotic treatment. The aim of the study was to assess whether after disappearance of the
erythematous skin lesion B. burgdorferi is still present in the healthy-looking skin of untreated
patients. In six patients, a skin biopsy specimen was taken at the site of a previous erythematous
skin lesion 1 to 6 months after disappearance of the lesion. Four of them presented with early
disseminated Lyme borreliosis. In one additional patient with early disseminated Lyme
borreliosis, the site of a previous tick bite was biopsied. None of these patient s had been treated
with antibiotics before presentation.The cultures of the skin biopsy specimens of the seven
patients showed growth of Borrelia species. By rRNA gene restriction analysis and
genospecies-specific PCR, six isolates were classified as Borrelia garinii and one as Borrelia group
VS461.These results show that B. burgdorferi can still be cultured from the skin after disappearance
of the erythematous skin lesion or at the site of a previous tick bite




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