The clinical features in eight patients with neurologic abnormalities typical of
Lyme disease and elevated titers of antibody to the spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, its causative agent, are described. None of the patients had the diagnostic skin lesion, erythema chronicum migrans.
Lyme arthritis, the other clinical marker for the
disease, developed subsequently in only three. The neurologic abnormalities included aseptic meningitis, encephalitis, cranial neuritis, motor and sensory radiculitis, and myelitis in various combinations. The occurrence of severe encephalitis resulting in dementia in two of these patients and irreversible myelopathy in one enlarges the known spectrum of neurologic abnormalities due to infection with B. burgdorferi.
Lyme disease can present with neurologic abnormalities without diagnostic extraneural features, can be suspected on clinical and epidemiologic grounds, and can be diagnosed serologically.