Japanese encephalitis (JE) is usually a monophasic disease; however, in rare cases, patients with JE may have an early relapse after a partial recovery, giving rise to a biphasic pattern for the disease. In this study, we report three pediatric cases in which post-JE relapse was characterized by movement disorder and/or behavioral problems, and was related to anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) immunoglobulin G (IgG). Serum and cerebrospinal fluid were examined for anti-NMDAR IgG in three patients who had confirmed JE and then developed relapsing symptoms which were similar to those of anti-NMDAR encephalitis. The main symptoms of the two young children were choreoathetosis, irritability, and sleep disorder; while for the teenager, agitation, mutism, rigidity, and sleep disorder were the main symptoms. Samples of cerebrospinal fluid from all patients were positive for anti-NMDAR IgG, and all patients gradually improved with immunotherapy. Testing for NMDAR antibodies is highly recommend in patients with JE, especially those with a relapsing syndrome involving movement disorder and/or behavioral problems, as these patients may benefit from immunotherapy.
Keywords: Anti-NMDAR encephalitis; Japanese encephalitis; Movement disorder; Relapsing.