Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis

  • Marjo S. van der Knaap
  • Jacob Valk


Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is one of the slow virus infections of the CNS. It is a rare disorder, but it is the commonest of the chronic virus infections to affect children. It is caused by measles virus. SSPE is a disease of childhood and adolescence, with an age range of 4–20 years and a peak incidence at 7–10 years. There is a racial difference in incidence of SSPE: in the United States the incidence is four times higher in Whites than in Blacks. Boys outnumber girls by 3 or 2 to 1. Children who acquire measles infection under 2 years of age are more likely to develop SSPE. The mean age of infection is 12–14 months. In exceptional cases SSPE can also occur after live measles immunization, but the rate of incidence is highly reduced after immunization. Since the introduction of measles vaccination, and since coverage in The Netherlands has reached 95%, the incidence of SSPE has gone down to one case annually. In Japan, 10–25 new cases a year are reported.


White Matter Lesion Measle Virus Measle Vaccination Acute Disseminate Encephalomyelitis Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjo S. van der Knaap
    • 1
  • Jacob Valk
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Child NeurologyFree University HospitalAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Diagnostic RadiologyFree University HospitalAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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