Chronic arthritis of the knee in Lyme disease. Review of the literature and report of two cases treated by synovectomy.

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The arthritis that may be a part of Lyme disease, a spirochetal infection transmitted by ticks, has not been widely reported in the orthopaedic literature. Established chronic arthritis in patients who have Lyme disease most commonly affects the knee and may cause erosive joint disease. Antibiotics given early in the course of the disease can prevent chronic arthritis. When the arthritis is established, penicillin administered intravenously is curative in as many as 55 per cent of patients, but medical therapy alone may be insufficient to successfully treat the chronic stage of arthritis.

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