Introduction: Dengue virus (DENV) is one of the most common arbovirus diseases, with a wide spectrum of presentation. Spinal cord involvement in dengue infection (DF) is rare. However, the risk of transverse myelitis (TM) following Dengue has not been systematically assessed.
Methods: We undertook a systematic review of published English literature from January 1974 to December 2017 to assess risk of TM and outcomes following DF. Data sources included EMBASE, MEDLINE, Cochrane library, ISI web of knowledge, conference proceedings and references within identified articles.
Results: We identified 242 potential studies, 62 were duplicates. A further 136 were excluded on the basis of title and abstract and 19 studies did not meet the eligibility criteria on full text screening. We included 25 publications involving 2672 cases of DF. A small proportion (10.8%, (289/2672)) had neurological complications, of which 2.3% (61/2672) was TM. For articles reporting epidemiological data, the neurological complication was twice in males compared to female 67.7% (130/192) vs. 32.7% (62/192) and 1.5-fold increase TM for males 59.3% (32/54) vs 40.7% (22/54). The mean age at presentation was 33.1years (range 0.75⁻61), with onset at 11.7days. The method of diagnosing TM due to DF was mainly IgM seropositivity 92% (n = 23/25) and the commonest treatment modality was steroid 78.3% (n = 18/23). Only half had full recovery 50.8% (n = 31/61). There was no mortality following dengue, however, the crude case fatality rate following TM was 3.3% (n = 2/61).
Conclusion: This review highlights the risk of TM following dengue. Although neurological complications are rare, especially TM, once set in, it is associated with a significant morbidity.
Keywords: dengue fever; risk; systematic review; transverse myelitis.