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May 28, 1973

Panencephalitis Following Measles Vaccination

Author Affiliations

University of Kansas Medical Center Kansas City

JAMA. 1973;224(9):1299. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220230059028

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To the Editor.—  We read with interest the report by Landrigan and Witte (223:1459, 1973) concerning the neurologic disorders following live measlesvirus vaccination. According to their records from 1963 through 1971, only one case of suspected subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) occurred within one month after live measles-virus vaccination in the United States. Recently, we have observed a child with SSPE who had a previous history of measles-virus vaccination five years earlier.

Report of a Case.—  A 10-year-old white boy had a stumbling gait and deterioration of school performance. Initial neurological examination revealed slow mentation and mild gait dystonia. Over the next three months, progressive dystonia, myoclonic jerks, and bilateral spasticity, especially of the lower extremities, developed, with progressive intellectual deterioration and feeding difficulty. An electroencephalogram revealed periodic bursts of bilaterally synchronous spike-wave activity. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein level was 32 mg/100 ml with an elevated gamma globulin fraction of 33%