Postinfectious Encephalomyelitis

Postinfectious encephalomyelitis is a severe demyelinating condition of the brain and spinal cord which occurs as an occasional complication following a few days after any of the common childhood exanthemata (measles, varicella, rubella) or mumps Prior to the eradication of smallpox, it also occurred as an occasional complication of vaccination against that disease, using live vaccinia virus. The pathology of postinfectious encephalomyelitis resembles that of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, giving rise to the hypothesis that this is an autoimmune disease in which virus infection provokes an immunologic attack on myelin. Certainly there is little virus demonstrable in the brain by the time postinfectious encephalomyelitis develops, and the major histologic finding is perivenous inflammation and demyelination.

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