American traveler with Lyme disease

Travelers typically prepare to possibly incur infections when visiting other countries. A case study in Travel Medicine Infectious Diseases entitled “American woman with early Lyme borreliosis diagnosed in a Colombian hospital” reminds travelers that they should not overlook an infection they may have contracted from their country of origin. [1]


by Daniel J. Cameron, MD MPH

Doctors in Bogotá, Colombia, describe an encounter with a 24-year-old American woman whom they eventually diagnosed with Lyme disease seven days after she arrived in the country from Virginia, USA. [1]

The woman presented to a Bogotá emergency room with a “popular pruritic lesion in [the] right flank.” The patient told the ER physician that a week earlier, she had walked through the woods with her dog and had noticed a dark spot in the center of where a rash appeared. She was initially prescribed oral cephalexin for a presumed cellulitis. [1]

The next day, the hospital’s infectious disease department diagnosed Lyme disease based on her 27cm target-like rash, malaise, headache, arthralgia and abdominal pain, exposure history, and origin. Doxycycline was prescribed (100 mg/every 12 h) for a total of 10 days. The rash and symptoms resolved by the 7th day. [1]

The American woman was fortunate enough to present with a classic target-like erythema migrans rash. The challenge for doctors is to diagnose Lyme disease in travelers with atypical rashes, negative serologic testing, and late Lyme disease.



  1. Mantilla-Florez, Y.F., A.A. Faccini-Martinez, and C.E. Perez-Diaz, American woman with early Lyme borreliosis diagnosed in a Colombian hospital. Travel Med Infect Dis, 2017.

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