Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) complicating dengue infection is still exceedingly rare even in endemic countries such as Malaysia. Here we report two such cases, the first in an elderly female patient and the second in a young man. Both presented with encephalopathy, brainstem involvement and worsening upper and lower limb weakness. Initial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain was normal in the first case. Serum for dengue Ig M and NS-1 was positive in both cases. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) showed pleocytosis in both with Dengue IgM and NS-1 positive in the second case but not done in the first. MRI brain showed changes of perpendicular subcortical palisading white matter, callosal and brainstem disease mimicking multiple sclerosis (MS) in both patients though in the former case there was a lag between the onset of clinical symptoms and MRI changes which was only clarified on reimaging. The temporal evolution and duration of the clinical symptoms, CSF changes and neuroimaging were more suggestive of Dengue ADEM rather than an encephalitis though initially the first case began as dengue encephalitis. Furthermore in dengue encephalitis neuroimaging is usually normal or rarely edema, haemorrhage, brainstem, thalamic or focal lesions are seen. Therefore, early recognition of ADEM as a sequelae of dengue infection with neuroimaging mimicking MS and repeat imaging helped in identifying these two cases. Treatment with intravenous steroids followed by maintenance oral steroids produced good outcome in both patients.
- Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis
- Dengue infection