HHV-6-Associated Neurological Disease in Children: Epidemiologic, Clinical, Diagnostic, and Treatment Considerations

Pediatr Neurol. 2020 Apr:105:10-20. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2019.10.004. Epub 2019 Nov 24.


Human herpesviruses 6A and 6B, often referred to collectively as human herpesvirus 6, are a pair of beta-herpesviruses known to cause a variety of clinical syndromes in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised individuals. Most humans are infected with human herpesvirus 6B, and many with human herpesvirus 6A. Primary infection typically occurs in early childhood, although large-scale reviews on the topic are limited. Herein, the authors explore the clinical manifestations of human herpesvirus 6-associated disease in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised pediatric patients, the risk factors for development of human herpesvirus 6-associated neurological disease, the risk of autoimmunity associated with development of active or latent infection, the relevance of human herpesvirus 6-specific diagnostic tests, and the medications used to treat human herpesvirus 6. The goal of this review is to improve the current understanding of human herpesvirus 6 in pediatric populations and to examine the most effective diagnostic and therapeutic interventions in this disease state.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Encephalitis; HHV-6; Immunocompromised; Pediatric; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System* / diagnosis
  • Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System* / drug therapy
  • Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System* / etiology
  • Encephalitis* / diagnosis
  • Encephalitis* / drug therapy
  • Encephalitis* / etiology
  • Epilepsy* / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy* / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy* / etiology
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human / pathogenicity*
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host*
  • Roseolovirus Infections* / complications
  • Roseolovirus Infections* / diagnosis
  • Roseolovirus Infections* / drug therapy
  • Roseolovirus Infections* / epidemiology