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Diagnosis of acute deer tick virus encephalitis.

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Deer tick virus (DTV) is a tick-borne flavivirus that has only recently been appreciated as a cause of viral encephalitis. We describe the clinical presentation of a patient who had DTV encephalitis diagnosed before death and survived for 8 months despite severe neurologic dysfunction.


Diagnosis was made from a cerebrospinal fluid specimen, using a flavivirus-specific polymerase chain-reaction assay followed by sequence confirmation, and the phylogeny was analyzed. Serologic testing, including plaque reduction neutralization testing, was also performed.


Molecular analysis indicated that the virus was closely related to 2 strains of DTV that had been detected in Ixodes scapularis ticks from Massachusetts in 1996 and in the brain of a patient from New York in 2007.


DTV encephalitis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of encephalitis in geographic areas that are endemic for
Lyme disease.

Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Feb;56(4):e40-7. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis938. Epub 2012 Nov 19. Case Reports; Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, P.H.S.

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