Neurological Spectrum of Baggio-Yoshinari Syndrome

INTRODUCTION: Lyme disease (LD) is a tick-borne disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato spirochetes, transmitted by Ixodes ricinus complex ticks, which leads to multiple systemic clinical manifestations. In Brazil, a different syndrome is described that mimics LD symptoms, but that also manifests high frequencies of recurrent episodes and immune-allergic manifestations. It is transmitted by the Amblyomma cajennense tick and the etiological agent is an uncultivable spirochete with atypical morphology. Due to its particularities, this emerging zoonosis has been called Brazilian LD-like syndrome or Baggio-Yoshinari Syndrome (BYS).
OBJECTIVE: To describe the neurological spectrum of BYS.
PATIENTS: Thirty patients with neurological symptoms of BYS were analysed.
RESULTS: Mean age of patients was 34.2 ± 13.3 years old (6 to 63 years); 20 were females and 10 males. A high number of recurrent episodes (73.6%) and severe psychiatric or psycho-social disturbances (20%) were distinguishing features. Erythema migrans similar to those seen in the Northern hemisphere was identified in 43.3% of patients at disease onset. The recurrence of skin lesions diminished as the disease progressed. Articular symptoms (arthritis) happened in nearly half of patients at BYS onset and during relapsing episodes.
CONCLUSIONS: The BYS is considered a new tick borne disease in Brazil that differs from classical LD observed in the Northern hemisphere. BYS replicates most of the neurological symptoms observed in LD, except for the additional presence of relapsing episodes and the tendency to cause chronic neurological and articular manifestations.