Acute Lyme Neuroborreliosis With Transient Hemiparesis and Aphasia

Ann Emerg Med. 2015 Jul;66(1):60-4. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2015.01.011. Epub 2015 Feb 26.


Nervous system involvement in Lyme disease often mimics other conditions and thus represents a diagnostic challenge, especially in an emergency department setting. We report a case of a female teenager presenting with sudden-onset aphasia and transient right-sided faciobrachial hemiplegia, along with headache and agitation. Ischemia, vasculitis, or another structural lesion was excluded by brain imaging. Toxicologic evaluation results were negative. Cerebral perfusion computed tomography and electroencephalography showed left parietotemporal brain dysfunction. Lumbar puncture result, although atypical, suggested bacterial infection and intravenous ceftriaxone was initiated. Finally, microbiological cerebrospinal fluid analysis revealed Lyme neuroborreliosis, showing specific intrathecal antibody production and high level of C-X-C motif chemokine 13. The patient rapidly recovered. To our knowledge, this report for the first time illustrates that acute-onset language and motor symptoms may be directly related to Lyme neuroborreliosis. Neuroborreliosis may mimic other acute neurologic events such as stroke and should be taken into diagnostic consideration even in the absence of classic symptoms and evolution.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aphasia / etiology*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electroencephalography
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / complications
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / diagnosis*
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / physiopathology
  • Neuroimaging
  • Paresis / etiology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed