Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms

Dawson's Encephalitis Overview

Another name for Dawson's Encephalitis is Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis.

What is subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE)?
A person with subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) has a progressive, debilitating and deadly brain disorder caused by an abnormal immune response to measles or rubeola infection. The incidence of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis has decreased by more than 90% in countries practicing routine vaccinations for measles.

What are the symptoms of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE)?
The symptoms of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis include bizarre behavior, dementia, muscle spasms, seizures, and unsteady gait.

How does the doctor treat subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE)?
The treatment of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) includes antiviral medication to slow the progression of the disease. Some recommend the use of interferon therapy. There is no cure for subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. Most will die within 3 years of diagnosis.

Continue to Dawson's Encephalitis Symptoms

Last Updated: Oct 1, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Dawson's Encephalitis References
  1. Garg RK. Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. J Neurol. 2008 Dec;255(12):1861-71. Epub 2008 Oct 14. [18846316]
  2. Katz M. A short history of the long and productive search for the cause of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. Folia Neuropathol. 2009;47(2):145-8. [19618337]
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