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Encephalitis on deployment in Kenya: think beyond the infections
  1. Daniel Cameron Thompson1,
  2. M S Bailey RAMC2,3,
  3. D Bowley4,5 and
  4. S Jacob6
  1. 1 5 Armoured Medical Regiment, Catterick Garrison, UK
  2. 2 Department of Infection and Tropical Medicine, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3 Department of Military Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  4. 4 Department of Surgery, 16 Medical Regiment, Colchester, UK
  5. 5 Department of Surgery, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  6. 6 Department of Neurology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Daniel Cameron Thompson, 5 Armoured Medical Regiment, Catterick Garrison, UK; dcthompson101{at}


A 34-year-old female soldier presented with fever and behavioural changes while deployed in Kenya and was diagnosed with encephalitis. The patient underwent urgent aeromedical evacuation to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham for further management. Microbiology tests excluded common infectious causes that are endemic in the East Africa region. However, an autoantibody screen was positive for antibodies against the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR). Full body imaging confirmed the presence of limbic encephalitis and an ovarian mass suggestive of a teratoma. The patient was diagnosed with ovarian teratoma-associated anti-NMDAR encephalitis, a potentially fatal disease. The patient underwent surgery to remove the teratoma and commenced immunotherapy with steroids, plasma exchange and rituximab. This case highlights the diagnostic challenges of fever with behavioural changes in military personnel deployed in a tropical environment.

  • encephalitis
  • anti-nmda
  • limbic
  • teratoma
  • autoimmune

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  • Contributors DCT collected the patient data and contributed to writing the manuscript. DB was responsible for the conception of the article and editing the manuscript. MSB and SJ were responsible for managing the patient and contributed to writing the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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