Sandfly virus seroconversion associated with neurologic presentation

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To describe the clinical presentation and unique neurologic manifestations of sandfly viruses (SFVs) in the Jerusalem area.


We identified all patients with acute seroconversion to SFV at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Centers during the years 2008–2013 and retrospectively collected and analyzed the clinical and imaging data.


Nine patients (ranging from 1.5 to 85 years old) were identified. Presentation included acute neurologic disease, mostly with fever, change in consciousness and behavior, seizures, headache, meningitis, limb paresis, or myelitis. Eight patients had clinical signs of meningitis, meningoencephalitis, or encephalitis alone. Four patients had myelitis. MRI identified pathologic symmetrical changes in the basal ganglia, thalami, and other deep structures in 5 patients, and additional myelitis of the spine was noted on imaging in 3 patients. Seven patients had long-term follow-up: 4 completely recovered and 3 had remaining neurologic sequelae, among them 1 with permanent severe brain damage.


Neurologic involvement associated with acute SFV infections is considered to be benign. However, in this series, all 9 patients presented with significant neurologic pathology associated with a unique finding of myelitis and symmetrical basal ganglia, thalami, or white matter involvement. Thus, acute SFV infection should be included in the differential diagnosis in febrile onset of neurologic manifestations and neuroradiologic changes.

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