Hong Kong Med J 1998;4:325-8 | Number 3, September 1998
Acute encephalitis complicating rubella
KK Lau, ST Lai, JY Lai, WW Yan, TMK So, TY Wong
Department of Medicine, Princess Margaret Hospital, Kwai Chung, Kowloon, Hong Kong
During an epidemic of rubella in Hong Kong between October 1996 and June 1997, four male patients presented with rubella complicated by encephalitis, the symptoms of which started 1 to 5 days after the appearance of the rash characteristic of rubella. Two patients recovered completely within 1 week and one complained of a slight impairment of short-term memory. Severe cerebral oedema, and herniation across the brainstem and cerebellum developed in the fourth patient, who died 15 days later. The presence of serum immunoglobulin M antibody against rubella virus was demonstrated in all four patients; one patient also had immunoglobulin M antibody against rubella virus in his cerebrospinal fluid. No virus could be isolated during post-mortem examination of the fourth patient.
Key words: Encephalitis, Rubella/complications, Vaccination
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