Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiologic agent of
Lyme disease, can cause different neurological manifestations. We studied the prevalence of
Lyme neuroborreliosis in patients with stroke.
During a 1-year period, sera from patients with cerebral thrombosis or transient ischemic attack without cardioembolism were investigated for antibodies against B burgdorferi.
One of 281 patients had a positive serum immunoglobulin M titer and 23 of 281 (8%) had positive serum immunoglobulin G titers against B burgdorferi. One of the 24 seropositive patients, with a diagnosis of transient ischemic attack due to dysphasia, had a lymphocytic pleocytosis and intrathecal antibody production against B burgdorferi. The medical history revealed a 9-month period of general and neurological symptoms compatible with
Lyme neuroborreliosis before the strokelike incidents.
We conclude that
Lyme neuroborreliosis may imitate stroke, but screening for antibodies against B burgdorferi seems to be of little value and may be replaced by a careful medical history.