An Unusual Case of Suspected Lyme Neuroborreliosis in a Patient Presenting with Ear Pain
We report a case of suspected Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB) where the patient’s sole symptom was chronic, intermittent episodes of unilateral ear pain. This case was unusual because this patient did not show any other neurological or extraneurological symptoms of Lyme disease. LNB is a manifestation of infection by Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes that can manifest in a number of different clinical presentations depending on the nervous system dissemination of the bacteria. Most commonly, these neurological findings present as peripheral nerve radiculopathies, but rarer involvement of the central nervous system (CNS) can occur if a patient goes untreated. Most often, CNS involvement presents as meningitis with increased lymphocytes but can, in rarer cases, involve the spinal cord or brain parenchyma.
The diagnosis of LNB was made after the patient was found to have suspicious lesions in the spinal cord and brain parenchyma on magnetic resonance imaging as well as cerebrospinal fluid Borrelia antibody index was consistent with CNS Lyme disease. We discuss this case as a unique clinical presentation of suspected LNB and the diagnostic findings associated with this infection.
Nothing surprises me about Lyme disease anymore. “Not everything is Lyme, but Lyme CAN be anything.” Truer words were never spoken.