Latent lyme disease resulting in chronic arthritis and early career termination in a United States Army Officer

Thomas Weiss, Peter Zhu, Hannah White, Matthew Posner, J. Kenneth Wickiser, Michael A. Washington, Jason Barnhill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lyme disease is a continuing threat to military personnel operating in arboriferous and mountainous environments. Here we present the case of a 24-year-old Second Lieutenant, a recent graduate from the United States Military Academy, with a history of Lyme disease who developed recurrent knee effusions following surgery to correct a hip impingement. Although gonococcal arthritis was initially suspected from preliminary laboratory results, a comprehensive evaluation contradicted this diagnosis. Despite antibiotic therapy, aspiration of the effusions, and steroid treatment to control inflammation, the condition of the patient deteriorated to the point where he was found to be unfit for duty and subsequently discharged from active military service. This case illustrates the profound effect that latent Lyme disease can have on the quality of life and the career of an active duty military member. It highlights the need for increased surveillance for Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi) in military training areas and for the early and aggressive diagnosis and treatment of military personnel who present with the symptoms of acute Lyme disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberusz026
Pages (from-to)E368-E370
JournalMilitary medicine
Volume184
Issue number7-8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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