New evidence is presented for the first time to uphold the concept that the measles virus is primarily responsible for the signs, symptoms, and pathological changes in measles encephalitis. The presence of cytoplasmic or nuclear inclusion bodies, or both, in brain tissues of 15 patients from 20 cases supports the direct viral etiology of this disease. Multinucleated giant cells, an additional hallmark of the measles virus, have been found in five patients. This series of 20 fatal cases, the largest in the literature, has been collected from 12 different sources in Mexico and the United States.
Greenfield1 cites the earliest case of measles encephalitis in England as that reported by Lucas2 in 1790 who wrote "An Account of Uncommon Symptoms Following the Measles." The original pathological descriptions of myelitis following measles were made by Barlow and Penrose in 1886.3 Not until the 1920's were clear reports of
Adams JM, Baird C, Filloy L. Inclusion Bodies in Measles Encephalitis. JAMA. 1966;195(4):290–298. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100040096026
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