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Lyme disease is a multisystem infectious, inflammatory, and immune-related disorder that follows the bit of an Ixodes dammini tick infected with Borrelia burgdorferi. Subsequent manifestations are protean. This is particularly true concerning the nervous system. It is estimated that 15% of patients with
Lyme disease have neurologic complications. It is very possible that nervous system manifestations of
Lyme disease are even more common, and these can occur from weeks to many years following the primary infection and can be quite devastating. A high index of suspicion is necessary in diagnosing
Lyme-related disorders, because the majority of patients will not recall a tick bite or characteristic rash, and because the subsequent neurologic manifestations are not unlike those seen with many other diseases. With this awareness and appropriate laboratory testing, a presumptive diagnosis can usually be made without significant difficulty. When the nervous system has been affected by
Lyme disease, aggressive antibiotic treatment is usually necessary, often using IV preparations. Usually, there will be significant improvement following the use of antibiotics, but there are some patients who will continue to have persistent, probably irreversible, nervous system abnormalities. This is often the case in patients who have had symptoms for long periods of time or who have had multiple recurrences.