Ongoing Cerebral Vasculitis During Treatment of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Lisa R. Sun, Thierry A.G.M. Huisman, Anusha K. Yeshokumar, Michael V. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a tickborne infection that produces a systemic small-vessel vasculitis; its prognosis is excellent if appropriate treatment is initiated early. Because the advent of effective antirickettsial therapies predates the widespread use of brain magnetic resonance imaging, there are limited data on the effect of untreated Rocky Mountain spotted fever infection on neuroimaging studies. Patient Description We describe a 7-year-old girl with delayed treatment of Rocky Mountain spotted fever who suffered severe neurological impairment. Serial brain magnetic resonance images revealed a progressive "starry sky appearance," which is proposed to result from the same small vessel vasculitis that causes the characteristic skin rash of this infection. Conclusion Neurological injury can continue to occur despite specific antirickettsial therapy in Rocky Mountain spotted fever. This child's clinical features raise questions about the optimal management of this infection, particularly the utility of immune modulating therapies in cases of delayed treatment and neurological involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-438
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • IVIG
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • rickettsia
  • starry sky
  • steroids
  • vasculitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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