HHV6 meningoencephalitis sequelae in previously healthy children

Infection. 2012 Oct;40(5):563-6. doi: 10.1007/s15010-012-0295-9. Epub 2012 Jul 18.


Introduction: Human herpes virus 6 (HHV6) infection is a self-limiting illness occurring in early childhood. As with other herpes viruses, the encephalopathy associated with HHV6 is often attributable to the reactivation of a virus previously latent in human brain tissue. Previous reports on HHV6 encephalopathy dealt mainly with virus reactivation in immune-depressed older children and, above all, refer to encephalitis and not to meningoencephalitis. Complications are rare in healthy children. Encephalopathy has rarely been associated with HHV6 infection in children not affected by chronic disease.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate sequelae of HHV6 meningoencephalitis in previously healthy children.

Results: We report three cases of HHV6 meningoencephalitis in previously healthy children followed for a 10-year period. Two of the patients presented invalidating sequelae. In detail, one patient developed speech disturbance and the other persistent hemiplegia and bilateral visual deficit. To our knowledge, this is the first case in which an ocular complication developed in the course of HHV6 meningoencephalitis.

Conclusion: HHV6 meningoencephalitis can be associated with a wide range of clinical outcomes, from long-term neurological sequelae to a benign post-infectious clinical course.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Hemiplegia / virology
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Development Disorders / virology
  • Male
  • Meningoencephalitis / virology*
  • Roseolovirus Infections / virology*
  • Vision Disorders / virology