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Acta Paediatr. 2004 Sep;93(9):1251-3.

Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis after intrauterine infection.

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Neonatal Department, Alexandra Hospital, Athens, Greece.


Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), in the majority of cases, is caused by the wild measles virus, although there are some reports relating SSPE to vaccination. This paper presents an inborn that was infected during pregnancy by the measles virus and developed SSPE within the first year of life after a short incubation period. He progressed rapidly after a mild arrest with treatment. Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis is a fatal degenerative disease and, although it had largely disappeared because of nearly universal measles vaccination, it still remains a serious infection among children affected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The lack of newer cases of SSPE occurring among normal children nowadays should not wane alertness by obstetricians and paediatricians, to recognize the risk with measles during pregnancy and the need for prevention and recognition of SSPE at an early stage. Although some references exist which report on SSPE cases related to vaccination, new work weakens the possible links between measles vaccine and SSPE.


This report would like to stress the importance and success of reducing the SSPE problem with the aid of general measles vaccination with high coverage.

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