Encephalitis after hepatitis B vaccination: recurrent disseminated encephalitis or MS?

Neurology. 1999 Jul 22;53(2):396-401. doi: 10.1212/wnl.53.2.396.


Objective: To describe clinical and MRI features of patients with a disease suggestive of CNS inflammation after hepatitis B vaccination.

Methods: Eight patients with confirmed CNS inflammation occurring less than 10 weeks after hepatitis B vaccination are described. They received follow-up clinically and on MRI for a mean period of 18 months.

Results: Clinical and MRI findings were compatible with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. However, clinical follow-up, repeated MRI, or both showed the persistence of inflammatory activity, which makes this encephalitis more suggestive of MS than of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.

Conclusion: The persistent inflammatory activity observed clinically and on MRI in these patients is comparable with that usually observed in MS. Epidemiologic studies are currently testing the hypothesis of a triggering role of hepatitis B vaccination in CNS demyelination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology
  • Child
  • Encephalitis / etiology*
  • Encephalitis / pathology
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology*


  • Hepatitis B Vaccines