We reviewed 49 patients consecutively hospitalized for neurologic
Lyme disease to determine the frequency and characteristics of recent onset headaches in this group. All patients had positive serum
Lyme ELISAs and other neurologic illness excluded. Recent-onset headache occurred in 26 of 49 patients (53%). Patients with headaches more commonly had central nervous system involvement (54% vs 19%, P < .05) and flu-like illness (58% vs 19%, P < .0005). Eight of 26 (31%) met criteria for meningitis or encephalitis with abnormal CSF examinations. All 8 had focal findings (6), cognitive dysfunction (1), or both (1). The remaining 18 patients had recent-onset headaches resembling migraine (9), tension-type headache (5), or neither (4). Antibiotic treatment resulted in complete headache resolution in 11 of 14 patients with available follow-up data. Based on these findings, we conclude that recent-onset headaches are common in patients hospitalized with
Lyme disease. Of those with meningitis or encephalitis requiring intravenous antibiotics, all had focal neurologic findings or cognitive abnormalities, not just headaches.