Volume 25, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



We have searched for evidence of a chronic Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) infection in six Thai patients convalescing from acute Japanese encephalitis (JE) in whom JEV-specific IgM antibody was last detected 116 to 350 days after their acute illness. These six patients were compared with 94 other JE patients matched for age, sex and serological response and in whom JEV-specific IgM was either short-lived (<90 days) or not tested. All patients were evaluated for the presence or absence of seven abnormal neurological signs over a 1- to 2-year period. During the first 30 days of illness the mean numbers (± S.E.M.) of abnormal signs per patients for the IgM and control groups were 3.8 ± 0.3 and 2.3 ± 0.1, respectively (P < 0.01). After 1 year the six IgM patients still had significantly more abnormal neurological signs than controls (1.3 ± 0.3 and 0.6 ± 0.1, respectively [P < 0.01]). By 2 years, the IgM group showed no neurological impairment; examination of cerebrospinal fluids revealed no evidence of subclinical viral infections. The recovery of the six IgM patients between 1 and 2 years after their relatively severe acute illness suggests that IgM antibody persistence was related to acute virulence rather than chronicity of the JEV infection.


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