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Transverse myelitis caused by varicella-zoster
  1. Anjely Pulparampil Sebastian1,
  2. Arini Basu1,
  3. Nandini Mitta2 and
  4. Dominic Benjamin1
  1. 1Internal Medicine, Bangalore Baptist Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
  2. 2Department of Neurology, Bangalore Baptist Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anjely Pulparampil Sebastian; anjelypulparampil{at}


Transverse myelitis is a rare neurological complication seen with varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection, which is common among immunocompromised hosts. It can occur during the primary VZV infection or reactivation of latent infection. It is a complication that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. The present case is that of a 28-year-old immunocompetent man, who presented with fever, rash and acute-onset spastic paraparesis with bladder involvement. Causes such as herpes simplex 1 and 2, cytomegalovirus, enterovirus and Epstein-Barr virus infection were ruled out. On evaluation, he was diagnosed with acute primary disseminated VZV infection with parainfectious transverse myelitis, based on positive cerebrospinal fluid multiplex PCR (PCR) and serum VZV IgM antibodies. He was treated with intravenous acyclovir and steroids, with which he improved significantly.

  • meningitis
  • spinal cord

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  • Contributors APS was involved in the patient care, concept, design and writing up of the manuscript. AB and NM were involved in the patient care, concept and proof reading of the manuscript. DB was involved in the proof reading of the manuscript. All the authors are doctors working in Bangalore Baptist Hospital which is presently governed by Christian Medical College, Vellore.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.