[First report of three culture confirmed human Lyme cases in Turkey]

Mikrobiyol Bul. 2010 Jan;44(1):133-9.
[Article in Turkish]


Lyme disease which is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, is a multisystemic disease that involves skin, joints, cardiovascular and central nervous system, leading to chronic inflammatory response and late complications. First lyme cases have been reported after 1990's in Turkey and the spirochete was isolated from the tick vectors. In this case series three human Lyme cases confirmed with not only serological tests but also growth in Barbour-Stoenner-Kelly medium were presented for the first time in Turkey. Two of these three cases were residents in Istanbul while the third one has acquired the infection in USA (imported case). First case was a previously healthy 46 years old male, admitted to the state hospital with the complaints of diarrheae, chills, nausea, vomiting, cough, sputum production and widespread myalgias. The patient was a chronic alcohol consumer with a history of frequent visits to the forest areas. The laboratory test results revealed hepatonephritis-like clinical picture and pulmonary involvement. Leptospira IgM and Borrelia IgM antibodies were detected in the serum by ELISA and both of the agents were isolated in the blood cultures of the patient. This case was then diagnosed as Lyme disease with leptospirosis co-infection. The second case was a 32 years old female who suffered from Bell's palsy for the last 15 days. Cranial magnetic resonance imaging showed a nodular lesion at globus pallidus. Since the patient had a history of tick-bite, further testing was done for Lyme disease. Borrelia IgM and IgG antibodies were found negative, however, Borrelia was isolated from the cerebrospinal fluid sample. The third patient was a 68 years old female who had recently travelled to USA and exposed to a tick-bite in a recreational area. She suffered from nausea, vomiting, myalgia and cutaneous lesions compatible with erythema chronicum migrans. Samples taken from the skin lesions revealed growth of Borrelia. As far as the current literature is concerned, these were the first three culture proven cases of Borrelia in Turkey. These three cases supported the presence of Lyme disease in Turkey and indicated that the disease could present itself in various clinical pictures.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Bell Palsy / complications
  • Borrelia / immunology
  • Borrelia / isolation & purification*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Leptospira / immunology
  • Leptospirosis / complications
  • Leptospirosis / diagnosis
  • Lyme Disease / complications
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Travel
  • Turkey
  • United States


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin M