BACKGROUND Tick-borne relapsing fever is a disease that is caused by infection with a Borrelia bacterium, and is transmitted by ticks. This infectious disease is characterised by relapsing episodes of high fever, often accompanied by aspecific symptoms. CASE DESCRIPTION We describe the history of a 20-year-old woman who developed recurrent episodes of fever with headache and vomiting after a holiday in Morocco. Additional examination showed pleiocytosis in the cerebrospinal fluid, which was initially suggestive of viral meningitis. However, Borrelia spp. were isolated from a 16S-rRNA-PCR-test which led to the diagnosis 'tick-borne relapsing fever'. The patient was treated with intravenous ceftriaxone for two weeks, after which time her symptoms gradually improved. CONCLUSION Prompt antibiotic treatment of tick-borne relapsing fever can prevent a serious course of the disease. For this reason, in patients with recurrent episodes of fever, it is important to consider this diagnosis if they have recently made a trip to Africa, America or the Middle East.