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October 8, 1973

Myelopathy After Duck Embryo Vaccine

Author Affiliations

Kansas City, Mo

JAMA. 1973;226(2):198. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230020044020

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To the Editor.—  According to Dorland, myelopathy in this case refers to a disease of the spinal cord. The case presented by Dr. Mozar, in addition to marked weakness of the back, arm, and leg muscles, had marked weakness of the neck, dysphagia, and minimal respiratory distress. There was also a loss of reflexes without sensory deficit. These neurologic signs are not typical of a myelopathic process that often includes a sensory level and sphincter disturbance. The spinal fluids showed a persistent elevation of protein content without cells (an albuminocytologic dissociation). The patient apparently responded to treatment with glucocorticoids. These findings are consistent with the GuillainéBarré complex, a polyradiculoneuropathy, that has occurred after a variety of inoculations, including duck embryo rabies vaccine (Arch Neurol 14:196, 1966).