Lyme Disease in a 74-year-old Forest Owner With Symptoms of Dermatomyositis

Arthritis Rheum. 1995 Aug;38(8):1157-60. doi: 10.1002/art.1780380820.


We describe a 73-year-old forest owner with widespread erythema, myalgia, and proximal muscle weakness. The clinical signs and the results of electromyography, magnetic resonance imaging, and a muscle biopsy were consistent with dermatomyositis. However, serology was positive for Borrelia burgdorferi. More importantly, B burgdorferi DNA was detected in skin by polymerase chain reaction techniques, and spirochete-like organisms were detected in the muscle by silver staining. Lyme disease with muscle involvement can mimic or trigger dermatomyositis and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of dermatomyositis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / isolation & purification
  • Dermatomyositis / complications
  • Dermatomyositis / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electromyography
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / complications
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / microbiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Skin / microbiology
  • Skin / pathology
  • Trees