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Unusual Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Written by Dr. Diane Mueller

There are quite a few unusual symptoms of Lyme Disease. This is for two main reasons:

1)    Lyme Disease is the great mimicker. It is caused by an infection of the microorganism known as Borrelia.  This bacterium can burrow into cells and tissues all over the body. Because of its ability to travel and impact multiple body systems, the symptoms are widespread. In addition to this, Lyme Disease can cause neuro-inflammation (inflammation to our cells of the nervous system). Due to the impact on the nervous system, Lyme Disease can change the way our nerves process and communicate information. This can lead to a variety of strange things such as hypersensitivity to sound and light as well as many other things that we will discuss here.

2)    Lyme Disease is contracted from insect bites (ticks most commonly, but other insects too). When insects bite us, they do not only give us Borrelia, but instead transmit a whole bunch of microorganisms that they contain. The variety of microorganisms that a tick or other insect will carry is unique from tick to tick or mosquito to mosquito. Because most of the time when someone has Borrelia, they also have a few other insect contracted infections, the symptoms can appear unusual and sometimes difficult to identify.

In this article we are going to focus on the unusual symptoms of Lyme Disease as well some of the unusual symptoms that are seen with some of the other insect born infections (called coinfections). If you want to get a list of the more common symptoms of Lyme Disease, please see our blog: Lyme Disease Symptoms.

Unusual Symptoms of Lyme Disease

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The tricky thing about Borrelia and Lyme Disease is that the symptoms that it can cause, many other diseases can cause symptoms as well. A key thing when considering borrelia is seeing widespread symptoms. Especially for chronic hidden Lyme Disease, the symptom picture tends to be widespread. For example, it may affect the nerves, the muscles, the digestion, the eyes, the heart and the hormones all at the same time.

Keep in mind at our medical clinic that most of the people we find positive for Lyme Disease testing do not even remember getting a tick bite.

Unusual Symptoms of Lyme Disease

  • Bell’s Palsy- drooping of face due to nerve/muscle issues
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia
  • Depersonalization- out of body experiences
  • Difficulty walking
  • Personality Disorders/Mood Changes
  • Rage
  • Hearing Loss
  • Hypersensitivity to light, touch and sound
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • ALS
  • Parkinson’s
  • Severe Dementia
  • Digestive problems- Borrelia can attack the vagus nerve, which helps with healthy digestive functions
  • Cardiac issues: Borrelia can cause arrythmias, heart palpitations and other cardiovascular problems.
  • Hormonal imbalances

Anaplasma is a bacterium that is also found in some ticks.  It can cause fever, headaches, fatigue, muscle pain and rashes.


Babesia is a parasite that is also found in ticks. It tends to attack the red blood cells, which can lead to severe shortness of breath and air hunger. In addition, babesia tends to cause sweating, cause rage and can leave red dots on the skin. Fever, chills, headaches, joint pain, and fatigue are also common.


Powassan Virus is a virus that is found in ticks. It is severe and in 10% of people can even be fatal.  About 50% of those infected with this virus still have it for many months or years after infection. It tends to start with a sore throat, headache and in some people, disorientation. After many months it is possible that it can lead to paralysis, difficulty breathing and difficulty speaking. Fever and vomiting are also possible.  Over time paralysis can continue and muscle wasting can occur.

Bartonella is another common bacterium that comes from ticks as well as from cats. Bartonella tends to invade the lymphatic system. It can cause the lymph to pool in the legs, calves and feet causing pain in these areas. In addition to this, bartonella can cause the lymph nodes to swell and inflame.

It is also important to realize that Borrelia, the microorganism that causes Lyme Disease has many different species. While the species Borrelia burgdorferi is the one that classically causes Lyme, there are many other species that can also cause Lyme or produce similar symptoms.


One such species of Borrelia is called Borrelia Miyamotoi.


Borrelia Miyamotoi will cause tick borne relapsing fever, which includes an extremely high fever. There can be tingling and numbness in the extremities, confusion, light sensitivity, and hearing loss. It may look like an extremely bad flu.

For more information on the topic of Lyme Disease Symptoms, see our other blog:

If you suspect Lyme Disease, the sooner you get tested the better. Since this microorganism loves to spread and disseminate throughout the body, the sooner you can address it, the better chance you have at stopping its spread and preventing it from leading to other chronic long-term health problems. 

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