Lyme Disease Presenting as Subacute Transverse Myelitis

Acta Neurol Belg. 2009 Dec;109(4):326-9.


Lyme disease (borreliosis) is a systemic illness resulting from infection with the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted to humans by the bites of infected ticks belonging to several species of the genus Ixodes. After the bacteria enter the body via the dermis, most patients develop the early, localised form of Lyme disease, which is characterised by erythema migrans and influenza-like symptoms. This disease may also affect the heart, nervous system and joints. The neurological findings of this disease may include peripheral and central nervous system signs. A 21-year-old woman attended a family medicine outpatient clinic complaining of unexplained pain and muscle power loss in her lower extremities. The problem had started in her right leg 3 months earlier and worsened in the last week. She had a neurology consultation and was hospitalised. Her neurological examination revealed bilateral facial paralysis and sensory impairment. Immunoglobulin M antibody to B. burgdorferi was positive on Western blotting in both serum and cerebrospinal fluid. The patient was diagnosed with subacute neuroborreliosis and treated.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blotting, Western
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / immunology*
  • Ceftriaxone / therapeutic use
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Doxycycline / therapeutic use
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Facial Paralysis / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis*
  • Lyme Disease / drug therapy
  • Lyme Disease / immunology
  • Myelitis, Transverse / diagnosis*
  • Myelitis, Transverse / drug therapy
  • Myelitis, Transverse / immunology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Doxycycline