An African-American man in his 30s presented following seven weeks of symptoms including an initial febrile illness with a rash followed by onset of fatigue, facial weakness, daily headaches, neck pain, leg numbness, hyperacusis, and photosensitivity. Over the seven weeks, he had several evaluations and was treated for cellulitis and facial swelling before ultimately being diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease with seventh nerve palsy and meningitis. His symptoms failed to completely resolve after treatment, and he was diagnosed with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) due to ongoing symptoms which lasted for more than six months after treatment. Delayed diagnosis increases the risk of PTLDS and other long-term complications from Lyme disease. Provider awareness of Lyme disease risk factors, common neurologic and other presentations, and racial differences in diagnostic findings such as the skin rash can improve care by achieving earlier, accurate diagnoses and reduce risk of PTLDS.
Keywords: african-american; erythema migrans; lyme disease; post-treatment lyme disease syndrome; seventh nerve palsy.