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Research paper
Neurological manifestations of scrub typhus
  1. U K Misra,
  2. J Kalita,
  3. V E Mani
  1. Department of Neurology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Science, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
  1. Correspondence to Professor Jayantee Kalita, Department of Neurology, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Raebareily Road, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226014, India; jayanteek{at}


Objective To evaluate the neurological manifestations of scrub typhus and correlate their clinical, EEG and MRI findings.

Methods A cross-sectional study over 2 years included patients with scrub typhus diagnosed by solid phase immunochromatographic assay or Weil-Felix test. A detailed clinical evaluation including Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) was documented. Blood counts, chemistry, ECG, chest radiograph, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), EEG and cranial MRI were performed. Outcome on discharge and at 1 month were categorised into good and poor based on modified Rankin Scale.

Results Thirty-seven patients with ages ranging between 3 and 71 years were included; 51% of whom were females. All patients had fever and myalgia. Thirty-one (84%) patients had impaired consciousness, and six were deeply comatose (GCS score ≤8). Eight patients presented with status epilepticus. MRI revealed meningeal enhancement in only 1/25 (4%) patient and EEG showed generalised slowing in 6/28 (21.4%). Among 31 patients with altered sensorium, CSF studies were conducted on 28. Nineteen patients had meningoencephalitis and 9 encephalopathy, but no significant differences were observed in clinical, laboratory, EEG and MRI findings. All patients responded within 48 h to doxycycline and had good recovery at 1 month. Patients with low GCS score had significantly more focal neurological deficit (r=0.5; p=0.002), longer hospital stay (r=−0.4; p=0.03) and more disability on discharge (r=−0.4; p=0.01).

Conclusions Meningoencephalitis/encephalopathy may be seen in two-third of patients with scrub typhus. Scrub typhus should be included in the differential diagnosis of febrile encephalopathy.

  • MRI
  • EEG
  • CSF

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