Journal Article

Influenza B Virus Encephalitis

Jonathan A. McCullers, Sergio Facchini, P. Joan Chesney and Robert G. Webster

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 28, issue 4, pages 898-900
Published in print April 1999 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 1999 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Influenza B Virus Encephalitis

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Acute encephalitis and postinfectious encephalopathy have been reported infrequently in association with influenza A and B virus infections. We report herein a case of a 6-year-old girl with acute influenza B virus encephalitis resulting in neurological sequelae. The diagnosis was made by isolation of influenza B virus from the nasopharynx, seroconversion to influenza B, and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) identification of the virus from the patient's cerebrospinal fluid. Direct sequencing of viral RNA from the patient's nasopharynx and cerebrospinal fluid revealed identical nucleotide sequences in the HA1 region of the hemagglutinin gene. This is the first report of influenza B virus encephalitis diagnosed by use of RT-PCR and illustrates the need for increased awareness of influenza virus as a cause of acute encephalitis. PCR may be a useful tool for diagnosing future cases.

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Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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