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Complete Remission in Paralytic Late Tick-Borne Neurological Disease Comprising Mixed Involvement of Borrelia, Babesia, Anaplasma, and Bartonella: Use of Long-Term Treatments with Antibiotics and Antiparasitics in a Series of 10 Cases


This study aimed to demonstrate that severe neurological motor deficits in the context of late tick-borne disease with mixed microorganism involvement are eligible for long-term combined antibiotic/antiparasitic treatments. The inclusion criteria were: 1. neurological limb paralysis with a disability score >4 according to the EDSS Kurtzke disability scale; 2. serological tests pointing to an involvement of the main tick-borne microorganisms Borrelia burgdorferi s.l., BabesiaAnaplasma, and Bartonella; 3. a general disease for more than 6 months with fatigue, pain and subjective cognitive deficit. The patients were administered long-term treatments with repeated cycles (at least three) of 35-day IV ceftriaxone and repeated oral regimens of azithromycin–doxycycline and azithromycin–doxycycline–rifampicin. For Babesia, repeated courses of atovaquone–azithromycin were administered. Ten patients had intractable or severe motor deficits before treatment in the context of Borrelia (two cases) Borrelia–Babesia (four cases), Borrelia–Babesia–Anaplasma (two cases), Borrelia–Babesia–Anaplasma–Bartonella (one case) and Babesia–Anaplasma (one case). For several months, five had been in wheelchairs, and four had been walking with sticks. Seven patients out of 10 (70%) showed complete remission after a mean active treatment duration of 20.1 + 6.6 months, with a mean number of 4 ceftriaxone cycles. Three patients showed an initial remission but suffered secondary antibiotic/antiparasitic-resistant motor recurrences. Among the nine patients with Borrelia serologic positivity, treatments obtained complete remission in seven cases (77%). The findings of this ten-case series suggest the usefulness of long-term antibiotic/antiparasitic treatments in patients with severe late tick-borne neurological deficits with highly significant elements of tick-borne involvement.

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