What is the presentation of Lyme meningitis?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Although rare during stage 1 of Lyme disease, central nervous system (CNS) involvement with meningitis may occur in Lyme disease–associated chronic meningitis and is characterized by the concurrent appearance of erythema migrans at the site of the tick bite. More commonly, aseptic meningitis syndrome occurs 2-10 weeks after the erythema migrans rash. This represents stage 2 of Lyme disease, or the borrelial hematogenous dissemination stage.

Headache is the most common symptom of Lyme disease–associated chronic meningitis, with photophobia, nausea, and neck stiffness occurring less frequently. Somnolence, emotional lability, and impaired memory and concentration may occur. Facial nerve palsy is the most common cranial nerve deficit. These symptoms of meningitis usually fluctuate and may last for months if left untreated.

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