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J Assoc Physicians India. 1991 Sep;39(9):667-9.

Neurological complications due to Semple-type antirabies vaccine. Clinical and therapeutic aspects.

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National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore.


Thirty nine patients with neuroparalytic accidents due to the use of Semple-type antirabies vaccine were studied. The mean age of the patients was 25.8 +/- 13.2 years. The suspected source of infection was the bite of a dog in 36 (92.3%) cases. The mean interval between the first dose of ARV and the onset of neurological deficits was 14.4 +/- 8.7 days. The number of doses was 7 or less in 28 (71.8%) and more than 7 in 11 (28.2%) cases. With regard to neurological deficits, 5 (12.8%) had encephalopathy, 1 (2.6%) had encephalomyeloradiculopathy, 12 (30.7%) had cervical myeloradiculopathy, 4 (10.3%) had dorsolumbar myeloradiculopathy and 17 (43.6%) had polyradiculopathy. Lumbar cerebrospinal fluid analysis was done in 31 (79.5%) cases and was abnormal in 15 (48.4%), in the form of pleocytosis or raised protein or both. Electroencephalogram was done in 24 (61.5) cases and was abnormal in 7 (29.2%); in 6 (85.7%) of theme the abnormalities were subclinical. Electroneuromyography was done in 15 (38.5%) patients and was abnormal in 13 (72.2%). Visual evoked potentials were studied in 11 (28.2%) cases and were abnormal in 2 (18.2%). Thirty six (92.3%) cases received steroids and 25 (64.1%) received cyclophosphamide in addition. The therapeutic results were better in those who received cyclophosphamide. Three patients died; One died due to respiratory failure and two due to unrelated causes while on respirator. The latter two were autopsied, and findings in the brain were unremarkable.

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