Serial neuroimages of acute necrotizing encephalopathy associated with human herpesvirus 6 infection

Brain Dev. Sep-Oct 1995;17(5):356-9. doi: 10.1016/0387-7604(95)00077-o.


A previously healthy 8-month-old girl developed exanthem subitum and acute encephalopathy with status epilepticus, quadriplegia and bilateral abducens nerve palsies. Human herpesvirus-6 DNA was found in the cerebrospinal fluid by the polymerase chain reaction at the acute stage. Cranial computed tomography showed low density areas in the thalami and in the cerebellar and abducens nuclei. The distribution of the lesions was consistent with acute necrotizing encephalopathy. As for the thalamic lesions, a T2 weighted magnetic resonance image on the 24th day of the illness demonstrated low signal intensity surrounded by high intensity; 99mTc-ECD SPECT showed hypoperfusion, which suggested irreversible tissue damage. The patient is now 1 year 6 months old and has spastic quadriparesis with mental retardation and abducens nerve palsies.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Viral / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Female
  • Herpesviridae Infections / diagnostic imaging*
  • Herpesviridae Infections / pathology*
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leigh Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Leigh Disease / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • DNA, Viral