Acute disseminated demyelination due to primary human herpesvirus-6 infection

Eur J Pediatr. 1997 Sep;156(9):709-12. doi: 10.1007/s004310050695.


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.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA, Viral / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Demyelinating Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Encephalitis, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Herpesviridae Infections / diagnosis*
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Myelin Basic Protein / cerebrospinal fluid


  • DNA, Viral
  • Myelin Basic Protein