A previously healthy 19-month-old boy developed acute encephalopathy, thrombocytopenia and hepatic dysfunction. Human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) DNA was found in his CSF during the acute stage of the disease by means of the polymerase chain reaction. T2-weighted MRI revealed high signal intensity in the left thalamus and left parieto-occipital deep white matter. The myelin basic protein concentration in the CSF was elevated suggesting acute demyelination. The patient is now 2.5 years old and has no sequelae.
Conclusion: Since clinical course and neuroimaging after HHV-6 infection are similar to those in acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, clinicians must pay attention to primary HHV-6 infection in patients under 2 years old with white matter lesions.