9 ways COVID-19 and Lyme disease can look alike

covid-19 and lyme disease in patient being examined

COVID-19 and Lyme disease are two different diseases. Yet, COVID-19 and Lyme disease can look alike. There are 9 symptoms of COVID-19 that are also seen in Lyme disease.

In the article, “Neurologic Findings Among Inpatients with COVID-19 at a Safety-Net U.S. Hospital,” Anand and colleagues described the symptoms and clinical presentations of 74 individuals with confirmed COVID-19.  [1] The patients were seen for neurology consults while hospitalized or within a month of hospitalization. Covid-19 and lyme disease share many of the symptoms and clinical pesentations.

The authors described 9 symptoms in their COVID-19 patients that have also been reported in Lyme disease. These include:

  1. Altered mental status
  2. Myalgia
  3. Fatigue
  4. Headache
  5. Tremor
  6. Dizziness
  7. Gait instability
  8. Loss of consciousness
  9. Anosmia (loss of smell)

In addition, the authors also described a number of clinical presentations in their COVID-19 patients that have been described in Lyme disease. These include:

  1. Encephalopathy
  2. Seizure
  3. Ischemic stroke
  4. Primary movement disorder
  5. Peripheral neuropathy
  6. Traumatic brain injury
  7. Meningoencephalitis

“The majority of patients did not require critical care, suggesting that neurologic complications may be common in patients with moderate COVID-19 as well as those with severe disease,” wrote Anand and colleagues. Nevertheless, the breadth of neurologic findings associated with COVID-19  infection in a diverse group of inpatients suggest the need for further research.

The study was not designed to determine the cause of the symptoms and physical findings. “Neurologic findings spanned inflammatory, vascular pathologies, sequelae of critical illness and metabolic derangements, possible direct involvement of the nervous system by SARS-CoV-2, and exacerbation of underlying neurologic conditions,” wrote the authors.

Doctors should consider both Lyme disease in patients with these symptoms and clinical presentations to avoid delayed treatment.

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