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January 1970

Acute Encephalopathy and Hepatic Dysfunction: Associated With Chickenpox in Siblings

Author Affiliations

Atlanta; Philadelphia; Bryn Mawr, Pa
From the Epidemiology Program, National Communicable Disease Center, Public Health Service, Atlanta (Dr. Glick) and Philadelphia (Dr. Ditchek), and the departments of pediatrics (Dr. Salitsky) and neurology (Dr. Freimuth), Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr, Pa. Dr. Glick is now at the Neurology Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Am J Dis Child. 1970;119(1):68-71. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1970.02100050070016

In 1963 Reye et al1 characterized acute encephalopathy with fatty degeneration of the viscera as a distinct clinicopathologic entity of childhood. An association of this syndrome with clinically diagnosed or suspected chickenpox has been reported a number of times.2-7 In addition, several earlier reports on central nervous system complications of chickenpox include cases that in retrospect would be considered typical or suggestive of Reye's syndrome.8-12 Although the diagnosis of chickenpox has been questioned or seriously doubted in certain cases,1-4 clinical and epidemiologic experience suggests that the observed rash illness was chickenpox in at least some, if not all, of the cases reported. However, pathologic evidence has been meager, and serologic data pointing to infection with varicella-zoster virus have not been previously reported.

In connection with numerous cases of Reye's syndrome, family contacts have experienced minor symptoms, often similar to the patient's prodromal illness, at approximately the

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