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A six-year-old Nigerian girl presented in hospital with symmetrical paralysis of the extremities and drowsiness which progressed to deep coma. She died 72 hours after admission. Mokola, a rabies related virus, was isolated from brain material obtained at autopsy, making her the first known case of fatal human infection with this virus. Histologically, sections of the brain showed perivascular cuffing mostly by lymphocytes, although many atypical primitive lymphoblastoid cells were also present. Sections stained with phloxine tartrazine revealed large numbers of finely granular, stippled cytoplasmic inclusion bodies in many neurons. The inclusion bodies are easily distinguishable from Negri bodies and may be a distinctive feature of infection with Mokola virus.
The Virus Research Laboratory is supported in part by the Rockefeller Foundation.