Encephalitis accompanying chickenpox is extremely uncommon and usually has a more benign course than the encephalitis which occurs with other diseases such as measles, German measles, smallpox, mumps, influenza, and other obscure febrile viral illnesses.1 The incidence of encephalitis has been reported as 0.26% in 6,774 cases of chickenpox.2 However, the rarity of the encephalitis is not the major reason for reporting this case nor is the appearance or severity of the bilateral papillitis. The unusual feature in this patient was a unilateral macular lesion which appeared approximately three weeks after the onset of the rash, increased in severity for approximately one week, markedly reducing vision, and then completely resolved within three weeks.
Report of Case
The patient, a 3½-year-old white boy, developed fever, vomiting, anorexia, and headache about two weeks prior to admission. These symptoms lasted about four days and led the mother to consult a pediatrician.
COPENHAVER RM. Chickenpox With Retinopathy. Arch Ophthalmol. 1966;75(2):199-200. doi:10.1001/archopht.1966.00970050201009