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Case Reports
, 38 (20), E1282-4

Longitudinally Extensive Varicella-Zoster Virus Myelitis in a Patient With Multiple Sclerosis

Case Reports

Longitudinally Extensive Varicella-Zoster Virus Myelitis in a Patient With Multiple Sclerosis

Juan Pablo Cuello et al. Spine (Phila Pa 1976).


Study design: Case report.

Objective: To report this rare varicella-zoster virus (VZV) complication in a patient with multiple sclerosis.

Summary of background data: Longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis is a spinal cord lesion that extends over 3 or more vertebral segments. A common feature in neuromyelitis optica, longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis can also occur in several other diseases.

Methods: A 15-year-old boy with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, who has been treated with immunomodulators for 6 months, developed a subacute left brachiocrural hemiparesis with ipsilateral decreased sensation in the trunk and limbs. This was interpreted as a new relapse and was treated consequently. During the evolution, the patient developed a cutaneous rash in the left C8 metameres, followed by asymmetric tetraparesis.

Results: Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated an extensive cervical-thoracic myelopathy. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis revealed 17 leukocytes per microliter (95% mononuclear), protein 41 mg/dL, and negative VZV-DNA by polymerase chain reaction, but elevated anti-VZV immunoglobulin G cerebrospinal fluid/serum index, with a normal albumin cerebrospinal fluid/serum index, all of which were consistent with intrathecal synthesis of anti-VZV antibody. We were able to rule out all other causes included in the differential diagnosis, namely, vascular disease, tumor, and autoimmune conditions, especially those associated with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders.

Conclusion: Awareness of the potentially varied presentation of VZV myelitis can enable earlier recognition and specific treatment.

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