A recently published case report from Brown University and the Women & Infants’ Hospital of Rhode Island describes a 14-month old child with multiple episodes of febrile status epilepticus, followed by chorea and developmental regression, caused by human herpes virus-6 encephalitis. Chorea, an abnormal involuntary movement disorder, has been previously described as a complication of relapsing herpes simplex virus I infection, but not as a manifestation of human herpes virus-6 infection.
The authors indicate that it is uncertain whether the chorea was the result of an autoimmune phenomenon or a direct effect of the virus. The seizures and chorea resolved in response to a treatment regimen that included levetiracetam, intravenous immunoglobulin, and foscarnet. However, developmental regression including loss of language skills persisted 6 months after the illness. This case report describes a new clinical presentation of HHV-6 encephalitis, and furthers the case for routine identification of specific viral agents in all childhood viral infections presenting with CNS symptoms to determine optimal treatment and prognosis from the outset.
For more information, read the full paper and visit the following pages from the HHV-6 Foundation: