Radiculoneuritis due to Lyme disease in a North American child rights and content


  • Peripheral nerve pain can be a presentation of early disseminated Lyme disease
  • Isolated neuroradiculits from Lyme is rare but important to recognize and treat
  • Patients with painful radiculitis should be tested for Borrelia infection


Lyme disease is the most frequently reported vector-borne illness in the United States. It is caused by infection with Borrelia burgdorferi via the bite of an infected blacklegged tick (Ixodes spp.) Lyme disease has three stages: early localized, early disseminated, and late. Early disseminated Lyme disease may include neurologic manifestations such as cranial nerve palsy, meningitis, and radicular pain (also called radiculoneuritis). Isolated radiculoneuritis is a rare presentation of early disseminated Lyme disease and is likely underrecognized. We report a case of isolated Lyme radiculoneuritis in a child in Massachusetts characterized by fever and allodynia of the upper back that was treated in the emergency department. Laboratory investigation demonstrated elevated inflammatory markers and positive Lyme testing. Magnetic resonance imaging with gadolinium contrast revealed nerve root enhancement in C5-C6 and C6-C7. The symptoms resolved with oral doxycycline. Neuropathic pain should raise suspicion for neurologic manifestations of Lyme disease in North America even in the absence of meningitis and cranial nerve palsy. We report how timely recognition of this rare syndrome in North America is important and may prevent progression to late disease.



Again, this is not a “rare” syndrome, but is just “rarely” reported.  Big diff.  The authors even state that this syndrome is “likely underrecognized.”

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