Epstein-Barr virus encephalitis and encephalomyelitis: MR findings

Pediatr Radiol. 1996 Sep;26(9):690-3. doi: 10.1007/BF01356839.


The purpose of this project is to investigate the clinical and brain MR characteristics of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) encephalitis and encephalomyelitis. Clinical and 30 MR findings of 29 patients with EBV encephalitis or encephalomyelitis were retrospectively reviewed. Patients included 24 with encephalitis, 3 with encephalomyelitis, and 2 with brain-stem encephalitis. Altered consciousness, seizures, visual hallucination, and acute psychotic reaction were the common presentations. Eight patients had positive MR findings. These included T2 prolongation over gray and white matter, periventricular leukomalacia, and brain atrophy. Transient T2 prolongation over gray and white matter was found in one patient. Our results indicate that EBV encephalitis and encephalomyelitis have a wide range of both clinical and MR findings. The MR lesions may disappear in a short period, so the timing for the MR scan may be critical.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Brain / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Encephalitis, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Encephalitis, Viral / virology
  • Encephalomyelitis / diagnosis*
  • Encephalomyelitis / virology
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Herpesviridae Infections / complications
  • Herpesviridae Infections / diagnosis*
  • Herpesviridae Infections / virology
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tumor Virus Infections / complications
  • Tumor Virus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Tumor Virus Infections / virology


  • Antibodies, Viral