Neuromyelitis Optica Presenting as Infectious Meningoencephalitis: Case Report and Literature Review

Mohamad Ali H. Tfaily, Boghuma Titanji, Matthew J. Schniederjan, Abigail Goodman, Neil S. Lava, Stephanie M. Pouch, Matthew H. Collins, Max W. Adelman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In this patient-focused review, we present a 34-year-old previously healthy man admitted for fever and headache two weeks after a motor vehicle accident. On admission, his workup was concerning for meningoencephalitis based on elevated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) white blood cell count and elevated CSF protein. He was admitted for management of meningoencephalitis. During his course, no causative infectious agent was identified despite an extensive workup. He additionally underwent an autoimmune and paraneoplastic workup that was negative. During his hospitalization, he developed acute transverse myelitis manifested by bilateral lower extremity paralysis. After four weeks marked by persistent clinical deterioration, brain biopsy was performed. Pathologic examination was consistent with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). In this case report and literature review, we explore the presentations of NMOSD that mimic an infection. Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of NMOSD masquerading as infectious meningoencephalitis or acute transverse myelitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-541
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Acute transverse myelitis
  • Meningoencephalitis
  • Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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