Volume 72, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Neurologic complications in the course of infections are commonly diagnosed as cerebral malaria, but bacterial or viral meningitis may exhibit similar symptoms. One to three weeks after malaria, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) can also mimick the symptoms of cerebral malaria. We describe a 31-year-old woman with life-threatening ADEM five days after successful treatment of malaria. The detection of IgG and IgM antibodies in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) against multiple viruses and bacteria reflected a non-specific polyclonal B cell activation and was more confusing than helpful for diagnostic decisions. Varicella zoster virus was identified with a reverse transcriptase multiplex polymerase chain reaction in the initially obtained and frozen CSF. This case and findings from the literature indicate that -associated ADEM might not be immune mediated, but of infectious origin. With unclear cerebral complications during or after malaria, prompt initiation of empirical antiviral and antibacterial treatment in addition to antimalarials may reduce mortality.


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  • Received : 29 Mar 2004
  • Accepted : 12 Aug 2004

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