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Early maternal death due to acute encephalitis


M Vidanapathirana ,

Senior Lecturer, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura., LK
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DH Benaragama,

Senior Lecturer, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
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KS Dahanayake

Acting Consultant Judicial Medical Officer, General Hospital Monaragala, LK
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Maternal death in an unmarried woman poses a medico-legal challenge. A 24-year-old unmarried schoolteacher, residing at a boarding place, had been admitted to hospital in a state of cardiac arrest. At the autopsy, mild to moderate congestion of subarachnoid vessels and oedema of the brain was noted. An un-interfered foetus of 15 weeks with an intact sac and placental tissues were seen. Genital tract injuries were not present.

Histopathological examination showed diffuse perivascular cuffing by mononuclear cells suggestive of viral encephalitis, considering the circumstances of death and the social stigma of pregnancy in this unmarried teacher, the possibility of attempted suicide by ingestion of a poison was considered. Abrus precatorius (olinda) seeds commonly found in the area is known to produce acute encephalitis as well as haemorrhagic gastroenteritis and pulmonary congestion was also considered as a possible cause for this unusual presentation


Anuradhapura Medical Journal 2014; 8(1):16-18

How to Cite: Vidanapathirana, M., Benaragama, D. and Dahanayake, K., 2014. Early maternal death due to acute encephalitis. Anuradhapura Medical Journal, 8(1), pp.16–18. DOI:
Published on 30 Mar 2014.
Peer Reviewed


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