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Duration of Antibiotic Therapy for Lyme Disease

Allen C. Steere, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

From Massachusetts General Hospital; Boston, MA 02114.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Requests for Single Reprints: Allen C. Steere, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, 149 13th Street, Room 8301, Charlestown, MA 02129.

Ann Intern Med. 2003;138(9):761-762. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-138-9-200305060-00014
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Erythema migrans, an expanding annular skin lesion, was described in Europe in the early 20th century (1). In the 1950s, before the cause of the illness was known, European physicians noted that erythema migrans could be treated successfully with penicillin (2). After the description of Lyme arthritis in the United States in 1976, it became apparent that erythema migrans was the initial manifestation of a complex, multisystem illness. It was then shown that oral penicillin G given for 10 days shortened the duration of erythema migrans and often prevented or attenuated subsequent arthritis (3).

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