Rhabdomyolysis in a patient with West Nile encephalitis and flaccid paralysis

Tenn Med. 2008 Apr;101(4):45-7.


West Nile Virus (WNV), a flavivirus, was first documented in the United States by the Center for Disease Control in 1999. WNV has been associated with a variety of clinical features from a subclinical febrile illness to a neuroinvasive disease. Rhabdomyolysis, however, has not been a clinically well-described occurrence during WNV illness. We report a case of a 56 year-old African-American male with WNV infection who developed neuroinvasive encephalitis, flaccid paralysis, and rhabdomyolysis. During his illness, creatinine kinase (CK) values peaked at 45,276 U/L. We discuss the temporal relationship of the development of rhabdomyolysis, the course of his paralytic illness, imaging results, and present supporting evidence that rhabdomyolysis was not a sequel of another clinical condition. With the increasing spread of WNV, it is important to recognize rhabdomyolysis and flaccid paralysis as important manifestations of neuroinvasive WNV infection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paralysis / diagnosis*
  • Paralysis / etiology*
  • Rhabdomyolysis / diagnosis*
  • Rhabdomyolysis / etiology*
  • West Nile Fever / complications*
  • West Nile Fever / diagnosis*


  • Biomarkers
  • Creatine Kinase