Journal of Global Infectious DiseasesOfficial Publishing of INDUSEM and OPUS 12 Foundation, Inc. Users online:1484  
Print this pageEmail this pageSmall font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size     
Home About us Editors Ahead of Print Current Issue Archives Search Instructions Subscribe Advertise Login 

   Table of Contents     
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 108-109
The coruscating magnetic resonance imaging features of dumb rabies

Department of Neurology, SAMC and PGI, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Submission11-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance30-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication29-Jan-2021

How to cite this article:
Chouksey D, Rathi P, Telang K, Sodani AK. The coruscating magnetic resonance imaging features of dumb rabies. J Global Infect Dis 2021;13:108-9

How to cite this URL:
Chouksey D, Rathi P, Telang K, Sodani AK. The coruscating magnetic resonance imaging features of dumb rabies. J Global Infect Dis [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 May 25];13:108-9. Available from:


Rabies is an acute progressive fulminating encephalitis. Human rabies mostly presented in encephalitic (furious) and paralytic (dumb) forms.[1] The paralytic rabies classically manifested as ascending type paraparesis with bladder involvement. The average time interval of death in furious type is 5.7 and in dumb rabies 11 days.[2] We report a case of probable rabies encephalomyelitis with characteristic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features.

A 50-year-old female presented with complaints of fever, severe right upper limb pain, and weakness for 03 days. History of category III dog bite presents 1 month ago. On examination, right upper limb hypotonia and areflexia were present. She developed respiratory failure with quadriparesis within 12 h of admission. MRI brain and spine showed T2/fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) hyperintense, T1 hypointense with mild diffusion restriction lesions involving bilateral symmetrical basal ganglia and thalami [Figure 1], and dorsal aspect of the brain stem and entire cross-section of the cervico-dorsal spinal. No evidence of blooming seen on susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI). The patient was diagnosed with probable rabies encephalomyelitis; based on the WHO case definition of human rabies and described MRI changes in the paralytic form of rabies.[1],[3],[4],[5] The prodromal stage involves dorsal root ganglion (DRG), leading to DRG inflammation that causing severe pain. It was seen in our patient's presentation and followed by rapid deterioration due to retrograde axoplasmic spread of the virus to the central nervous system. The differential diagnoses of MRI changes include postvaccination encephalomyelitis (acute disseminated encephalomyelitis [ADEM]), acute necrotizing encephalopathy, Japanese B encephalitis, herpes encephalitis, rhomboencephalitis, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and mitochondrial disorders. The ADEM is more common in children, and case definition by Sejvar et al. and Brighton collaboration group says MRI finding of diffuse or multifocal white matter lesion on T2, FLAIR, diffusion weighted imaging ± contrast enhancement, and lesion load >50% of total white matter.[6],[7] In our patient, there was no white matter involvement. The time interval to develop post-vaccination encephalomyelitis PVEM usually 1–3 weeks reported after rabies vaccinations[6] and our case presented after 1 month. Acute necrotizing encephalopathy has seen in influenza viral infection. It is recently seen in a subgroup of COVID-19 patients, possible due to intracranial cytokine storm leading to break in the blood–brain barrier. Characteristic MRI findings include symmetric, multifocal lesions with invariably thalamic involvement and also involves brain stem, cerebellum, and cerebral white matters, there is T2/FLAIR hyperintense lesion with blooming on SWI and contrast ring enhancement.[8] Jap B and Herpes encephalitis MRI show hemorrhagic changes. These subtle differences in MRI with a history could help to make a diagnosis.
Figure 1: (a and b) Axial T2/fluid attenuated inversion recovery magnetic resonance imaging images showing hyperintense lesions involving bilateral Basal Ganglia and Thalami

Click here to view

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient has given her consent for her images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patient understands that her name and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal her identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Awasthi M, Parmar H, Patankar T, Castillo M. Imaging findings in rabies encephalitis. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2001;22:677-80.  Back to cited text no. 1
Karande S, Muranjan M, Mani RS, Anand AM, Amoghimath R, Sankhe S, et al. Atypical rabies encephalitis in a six-year-old boy: Clinical, radiological, and laboratory findings. Int J Infect Dis 2015;36:1-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
Tiembré I, Broban A, Bénié J, Tetchi M, Druelles S, L'Azou M. Human rabies in Côte d'Ivoire 2014-2016: Results following reinforcements to rabies surveillance. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2018;12:e0006649.  Back to cited text no. 3
Laothamatas J, Hemachudha T, Mitrabhakdi E, Wannakrairot P, Tulayadaechanont S. MR imaging in human rabies. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2003;24:1102-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
Kalita J, Bhoi SK, Bastia JK, Lashkar S, Mahadevan A, Misra UK. Paralytic rabies: MRI findings and review of literature. Neurol India 2014;62:662-4.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Huynh W, Cordato DJ, Kehdi E, Masters LT, Dedousis C. Post-vaccination encephalomyelitis: Literature review and illustrative case. J Clin Neurosci 2008;15:1315-22.  Back to cited text no. 6
Sejvar J.J., Kohl K.S., Bilynsky R. Encephalitis, myelitis, and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM): case definitions and guidelines for collection, analysis, and presentation of immunisation safety data. Vaccine. 2007;25:5771–5792.  Back to cited text no. 7
Poyiadji N, Shahin G, Noujaim D, Stone M, Patel S, Griffith B. COVID-19-associated Acute Hemorrhagic Necrotizing Encephalopathy: Imaging Features. Radiology. 2020 Aug; 296 (2):E119-E120. doi: 10.1148/radiol. 2020201187. Epub 2020 Mar 31. PMID: 32228363; PMCID: PMC7233386.  Back to cited text no. 8

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Dinesh Chouksey
Associate Professor, Department of Neurology 4th Floor, Sri Aurobindo Medical College and PGI,Indore - 452 010, Madhya Pradesh
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jgid.jgid_362_20

Rights and Permissions


  [Figure 1]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded85    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal

Sitemap | What's New | Feedback | Copyright and Disclaimer | Privacy Notice | Contact Us
2008 Journal of Global Infectious Diseases | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 10th December, 2008