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J Fr Ophtalmol. 1992;15(4):255-61.

[Changes in the fundus in subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. Apropos of 23 cases].

[Article in French]

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Service d'Ophtalmologie, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris.


Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a fatal slow encephalitis. It is related to a chronic infection of the central nervous system by a defective measles virus. Among 41 patients with SSPE, 23 had ocular involvement. The ophthalmologic involvement preceded the onset of neurological signs in 4 cases, they were detected at first presentation in 9 cases, and they occurred in the course of the disease in 10 cases. The ocular involvement was bilateral in 19 cases. Various ophthalmologic features were reported: retinitis (16 eyes), macular pigment disturbances (4 eyes), optical neuritis (33 eyes), visual agnosia (1 patient). The macular lesions were typical of the disease, but at the acute stage they were liable to be confused with toxoplasmosis. This complication of measles should disappear with the systematic vaccination of 12 month old children.

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