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Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Specialty

Pediatrics

Advisor

Dr. Nancy Reid, MHA, DHSc, PA-C

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Objective: The purpose of this clinical review article is to review whether or not prophylactic antibiotic therapy prevents Lyme disease (LD) in the pediatric patient with a tick bite present on their body for an unknown period of time.

Method: A PubMed literature search was conducted with search terms pediatric Lyme disease, Lyme disease, tick-borne disease prophylaxis, Lyme disease prophylaxis, Lyme disease prevention, deer tick antimicrobial prophylaxis, Lyme disease prophylactic antibiotics, pediatric Lyme prophylaxis, and pediatric Lyme disease prophylaxis. Four pertinent articles were retrieved and serve as the basis for this clinical review.

Results: Evidence suggests that Lyme prophylactic antibiotic therapy for children over the age of 8, if given within a certain window, prevents LD to occur in that patient. However, lack of evidence-based research to demonstrate the positive correlation of prophylactic antibiotic therapy and LD prevention under the age of 8 remains.1,2

Conclusion: Tick-borne illnesses, tick bites, and LD prevention is a common issue encountered in primary care in Lyme-endemic areas of North America, especially in pediatrics. Lyme prophylactic antibiotic therapy has been well established in the efficacy of preventing LD in adults. However, studies for Lyme prophylaxis for the pediatric population are limited, specifically for patients 8 years of age or younger. Some studies are showing promising results in using a short course of doxycycline as Lyme prophylaxis for pediatric patients under the age of 8; however, due to the possible side-effects with long-term use, it is understandable why practitioners are still hesitant to prescribe this regimen. Further research is needed to establish a correlation between Lyme prophylactic antibiotic therapy and LD prevention in pediatric patients, and more so in subjects under the age of 8 using alternative Lyme prophylactic antibiotic medication such as amoxicillin and ceftriaxone. Further studies should also be conducted on LD preventative vaccines for the general population.

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