How can you distinguish between meningitis and Lyme disease?

Lyme disease can ... Cause a so-called aseptic meningitis similar to many viruses. The cerebrospinal fluid changes cannot easily be distinguished from other causes but antibody assays can make the diagnosis of lyme borreliosis.
Detailed testing. Lyme disease is caused by an agent that gets into the body usually from a tick bite. Growing the agent from culture is very difficult. Examination of spinal fluid is usually negative. Specific blood testing can detect antibodies that indicate the infection. The agents likes cranial nerves and peripheral nerves and can cause long term pain and disability. It is treatable with specific drugs.
Testing. Lyme disease can sometimes cause an inflamation of the coverings of the brain ( meninges) and thus cause meningitis. Meningitis is a location specific process and can be caused by a number of bacteria, viruses & other agents. Lyme disease usually presents by affecting other parts of the body. Blood & spinal fluid tests can define the cause of meningitis.

Related Questions

I want to know what is the difference between meningitis and Lyme disease?

Apples and oranges. Meningitis is inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, uncommon with lyme disease. Bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency, can kill in hours. Nervous system can be involved in lyme disease, but less commonly and not acute. Read more...

How is Meningitis from Lyme disease diagnosed? Already have the lyme diagnosis? Past ER note says "likely Lyme Meningitis" but no inflammation on MRI.

Lumbar puncture. Meningitis is diagnosed classically by sending off cerebrospinal fluid analysis from a lumber puncture when there is a clinical suspicion that a patient has this condition. Lyme meningitis can be diagnosed with specialized testing sent on cerebral spinal fluid often in conjunction with serum testing to confirm the presence of Lyme Disease. Read more...

How can someone test positive for two Lyme-specific bands on western blot and NOT have been exposed to Lyme disease? What is magic about 5 bands?

Predictive value. Tests always have to be evaluated as to their predictive value both + and - . There are findings that are falsely +, and truly +, findings that are truly -, and falsely -. A good doctor will know which are the good results that he can rely upon and the bad ones that he can discard. That is what is known as great clinical judgment. When you find someone with it, stay with him! Read more...
Immune complexities. Lyme disease is caused by a certain type of bacteria called a 'spirochete'- they are a whole class actually of bacteria and believe it or not can be found commonly in the mouth or elsewhere in the environment. You have to reach a certain 'threshold' with Lyme testing because there could be some cross-reactivity coming from these other types of bacteria. The immune system is extraordinarily complex. Read more...

Question about Lyme disease and erlichiosis - where in the u.S. Do you have to worry about these things?

See below: Risk of lyme disease: northeast, from maine to northern virginia; upper midwest, including most of wisconsin, northern minnesota and a sliver of northern illinois. "emerging risk" regions: illinois-indiana border, the new york-vermont border, southwestern michigan & eastern n. Dakota. Ehrlichosis: southeastern & south-central United States, from the eastern seaboard to texas. Read more...
All of US but esp... Lyme has been reported in every state, though the highest reported incidence is in new england, ny, nj, pa, de, md, va, wi, mn&ca. The cdc estimates the true number of cases is at least 10 times those reported.See http://module.Lymediseaseassociation.Net/maps/ it may be that lyme is reported more in some states because drs. There are more aware of it. Hit the tap button to see my answer re: ehrlichiosis:. Read more...

How do you get Lyme disease?

Bite of infected tic. Lime disease is spread by ticks that have acquired the germ in the past and it stays in their system. A tick bite from another of the same species without the ld germ will not do it. The tick must get on your body, settle in for a feeding & feed long enough to pass the germ to you (hours). Read more...
Tick, fly bites &... Most lyme is from bites of the deer tick but half of those with lyme don't recall a tick bite; undoubtedly many were bitten & did not know it. It has also been shown to be caused by fly bites- see http://www.Nejm.Org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm199006143222415 some feel lyme may be spread by mosquitoes, spiders, sexually & mother to baby but these are unproven; i feel mother to baby is likely in some. Read more...

How does Lyme disease spread?

Tick Bite. As grose as it gets, this germ is passed to someone during the processs of being fed on by an infected tick. The tick caries the germ & during the blood extraction passes the germ to the victum. It is not passed by mosquitos or by chance encounter with people who have the illness. Read more...
Tick bite. Caused by a spiral bacteria (borrelia burgdorferi), symptoms are fever, headache, fatigue, and a rash called erythema migrans which expands out like a snakem leaving a pale center. If untreated, infection can spread to joints, heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks. Read more...