Involvement of the central nervous system is common in measles, but rare in rubella. However, rubella virus (RV) can cause a variety of central nervous system syndromes, including meningitis, encephalitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome and sub acute sclerosing panencephalitis. We report the occurrence of one fatal case of the encephalitis associated with measles-rubella (MR) vaccine during an immunization campaign in São Paulo, Brazil. A 31 year-old-man, previously in good health, was admitted at emergency room, with confusion, agitation, inability to stand and hold his head up. Ten days prior to admission, he was vaccinated with combined MR vaccine (Serum Institute of India) and three days later he developed 'flu-like' illness with fever, myalgia and headache. Results of clinical and laboratory exams were consistent with a pattern of viral encephalitis. During hospitalization, his condition deteriorated rapidly with tetraplegia and progression to coma. On the 3rd day of hospitalization he died. Histopathology confirmed encephalitis and immunohistochemistry was positive for RV on brain tissue. RV was also detected by qPCR and virus isolation in cerebrospinal fluid, brain and other clinical samples. The sequence obtained from the isolated virus was identical to that of the RA 27/3 vaccine strain.
Keywords: CMV; CNS; CSF; EBV; Encephalitis; Epstein–Barr virus; HSV 1/2; MMR; MR; MRI; PBMC; PCR; RA 27/3 strain; RV; Rubella vaccine; VZV; Vaccinal virus isolation; central nervous system; cerebrospinal fluid; cytomegalovirus; herpes simplex virus 1/2; magnetic resonance imaging; measles, mumps and rubella; measles-rubella; peripheral blood mononuclear cells; polymerase chain reaction; qPCR; quantitative polymerase chain reaction; rubella virus; vRV; vaccinal rubella virus; varicella zoster virus.
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