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Balancing immunosuppression and infection: recurrent enterovirus encephalitis in SLE


A young woman with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) developed recurrent enterovirus meningoencephalitis while taking prednisolone, azathioprine and rituximab. After reducing the immunosuppression, she developed a central nervous system (CNS) flare of SLE, with enterovirus still present in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). There are no evidence-based specific treatments for enterovirus encephalitis, but she responded well to intravenous immunoglobulin alongside pulsed methylprednisolone and rituximab. This case highlights the difficulties in managing people with co-existing infective and autoimmune conditions, especially if each affects the CNS. A viral infection and SLE flare can resemble one another clinically, although here the radiological differentiation of CNS lupus versus enterovirus encephalitis helped to guide the diagnosis.

  • neurovirology
  • SLE
  • encephalitis
  • infectious diseases

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