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J Med Virol. 2003 Aug;70(4):628-32.

Congenital infection with human herpesvirus 6 variant B associated with neonatal seizures and poor neurological outcome.

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Department of Preventive Pediatrics and Neonatology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.


Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV 6) has neurotropic and neuroinvasive properties. The virus has been found in the cerebrospinal fluid of many children with aseptic meningoencephalitis. Intrauterine transmission has been documented by HHV 6 DNA detection in cord blood specimens of apparently healthy newborns and in fetuses following spontaneous abortions. A patient is described with early neonatal afebrile seizures resulting from a congenital HHV 6 variant B infection disclosed by repeated detection of viral genome by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in cerebrospinal fluid in the first days of life. At follow-up, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies disclosed hyperintensities in the periventricular white matter and basal ganglia, associated with cerebral atrophy. Further follow-up at 18 months revealed poor neurological outcome with mild neurodevelopmental retardation, strabismus and hypertonia of legs. This report provides evidence of neurological involvement after HHV 6 vertical transmission, and the association with neurological sequelae.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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