Acute transverse myelitis following scrub typhus: A case report and review of the literature.J Spinal Cord Med. 2020 07; 43(4):548-551.JS
Context: Scrub typhus is an acute febrile disease caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi. The disease can usually involve the lungs, heart, liver, spleen and brain through hematogenous dissemination. However, very rarely, acute transverse myelitis in the spinal cord develops from scrub typhus. We present a case of acute transverse myelitis following scrub typhus with a review of the literature. Findings: A 66-year-old male visited a hospital for general myalgia, mild headache, and fever in October. He was noted to have thick, black papule skin on his abdomen, which was highly suggestive of scrub typhus. To confirm the diagnosis, O. tsutsugamushi antibody titers were examined and detected highly in serum by an indirect fluorescence antibody assay. Doxycycline, the standard treatment for scrub typhus, was administered. However, after seven days of treatment, he rapidly developed weakness in the right leg, paresthesia in both lower limbs, and voiding difficulty. Spinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed lesions with high signal intensity involving the spinal cord at the thoracolumbar junction. Paraparesis gradually improved following steroid pulse therapy for five days. At one-year follow-up, he could walk without cane. Conclusions:Orientia tsutsugamushi causes scrub typhus, which can affect not only the brain, but also the spinal cord. Although acute transverse myelitis develops rarely from scrub typhus, this should be considered as differential diagnosis in patients of fever with neurological deficit in endemic areas.