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Dermatology Online Journal

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Widespread localized areas of annular patches, plaques, and erythema


Without prompt diagnosis and treatment, patients with Lyme disease may develop life threatening multi-organ system complications. As such, we discuss the key diagnostic features of the condition along with patient-specific suggested treatment protocols. Additionally, Lyme disease is reportedly expanding to regions that were previously not impacted, key epidemiological features are outlined. We discuss a patient with severe Lyme disease who presented with widespread cutaneous involvement and atypical pathologic findings within an uncharacteristic geographic region. Erythematous, annular patches and plaques with dusky-to-clear centers were initially observed on the right thigh and later extended to the trunk and bilateral lower extremities. The diagnosis of Lyme disease was made clinically and confirmed with western blot testing that was positive for IgM antibodies. The patient additionally had a history of rheumatoid arthritis, for which he discontinued treatment prior to the current presentation with Lyme disease. During follow up visits, the patient noted lower extremity joint pain. Due to the overlapping clinical features of post-Lyme arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, key differences are outlined to prevent misdiagnosis. Data revealing trends in the geographic distribution of the disease and possible need for increased surveillance and prevention strategies within previously unaffected areas are discussed.

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