Leptospirosis is a zoonotic infection that can present with neurological manifestations. Although uncommon, it may affect the peripheral nervous system in the form of polyradiculoneuropathy. We report the case of a 30-year-old male who developed flaccid tetraparesis and multiple cranial neuropathies on the fourteenth day of admission to the intensive care unit for fever and multi-organ failure. We also review the existing literature about peripheral nerve damage in leptospirosis and present our hypothesis on the possible pathogenic mechanisms. Electrophysiological findings were consistent with acute demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy and extensive blood tests were positive for leptospiral IgM and IgG antibodies. Treatment with plasmapheresis was begun, followed by intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), and the patient improved slowly. Our work adds to the evidence of leptospirosis infection as a cause of acute demyelinating polyneuropathy. The possibility that leptospirosis-polyradiculoneuropathy may be caused by an immune pathogenesis emphasizes the importance of identifying this entity because immunomodulatory therapy could play a vital role in the recovery process.
© 2022 Peripheral Nerve Society.