August 1963

Cerebellar Ataxia With Preeruptive Varicella

Author Affiliations

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Fellow in Pediatrics (Dr. Goldston); Consultant in Pediatric Neurology (Dr. Millichap); Section of Neurologic Surgery (Dr. Miller).

Am J Dis Child. 1963;106(2):197-200. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1963.02080050199013

Encephalitis is reported in 0.10% to 0.26% of cases of varicella.1-3 The symptoms of this neurologic complication generally develop 4 to 10 days after the rash has appeared and rarely occur as a preeruptive manifestation. The present report concerns a child with symptoms and signs of increased intracranial pressure and cerebellar ataxia that antedated the exanthema of varicella by 11 days and led to an initial diagnosis of cerebellar tumor.

Report of Case  A boy five years old was referred to the Mayo Clinic on November 11, 1961, because of a recent onset of headache, vomiting, and ataxia. On November 5, six days before admission, he had complained of headache localized to the occiput, nausea, and malaise. He vomited on the following day and became ataxic a day later. On November 10 neck pain and internal strabismus of his right eye developed. Examination revealed a lethargic child with marked

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