Cerebellar ataxia as the presenting manifestation of Lyme disease

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2002 Apr;21(4):353-6. doi: 10.1097/00006454-200204000-00021.


A 7-year-old boy from suburban Baltimore who presented with cerebellar ataxia and headaches was found by magnetic resonance imaging to have multiple cerebellar enhancing lesions. He had no history of tick exposure. He was initially treated with steroids for presumptive postinfectious encephalitis. Lyme disease was diagnosed 10 weeks later after arthritis developed. Testing of the cerebrospinal fluid obtained at the time cerebellar ataxia was diagnosed revealed intrathecal antibody production to Borrelia burgdorferi. Treatment with intravenous antibiotics led to rapid resolution of persistent cerebellar findings.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / isolation & purification
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / pathogenicity
  • Cerebellar Ataxia / etiology*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / microbiology
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Headache / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / complications*
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis*
  • Lyme Disease / drug therapy
  • Male


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents