NINDS Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis Information Page: NINDS


Article title: NINDS Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis Information Page: NINDS
Main condition: Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis
Conditions: Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis
What is Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis?
Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is caused by a reaction to the measles virus. It can occur anywhere from 2 to 10 years after the original measles illness, and generally results in progressive neurological deterioration due to brain inflammation. Symptoms include intellectual deterioration, memory loss, and irritability that may be followed by involuntary movements and seizures. Blindness may result. SSPE is primarily a disease of children and young adults. Since the widespread use of the measles vaccine, SSPE has become very rare.

Is there any treatment?
Currently, treatment for SSPE is limited to anticonvulsants and supportive measures.

What is the prognosis?
SSPE is almost always a fatal disease. Death usually occurs between 1 and 3 years after onset, although some remissions have been reported.

What research is being done?
The NINDS supports research on infections and diseases of the brain and nervous system including SSPE. Much of this research is aimed at learning more about the cause(s), prevention, and treatment of these disorders.


National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 8923
(100 Route 37)
New Fairfield, CT 06812-8923
Tel: 203-746-6518 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-746-6481

Related NINDS Publications and Information

  • NINDS Encephalitis and Meningitis Information Page
    Encephalitis and meningitis information page compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

    This fact sheet is in the public domain. You may copy it.Provided by:
    The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
    National Institutes of Health
    Bethesda, MD 20892

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