Podcast # 466: Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis - The Emergency Medical Minute

Author: Nicholas Hatch, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Measles has a period of infectivity starts before the appearance of the characteristic rash, up to 4-5 days
  • A devastating consequence of measles is Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis (SSPE), which manifests 7-10 years after the initial measles infection
  • SSPE is a central nervous system disease that has no cure and is nearly universally fatal
  • Educating patients on the importance of vaccination should include discussion of these long term consequences


Pallivathucal LB, Noymer A. Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis mortality, United States, 1979-2016: Vaccine-induced declines in SSPE deaths. Vaccine. 2018 Aug 23;36(35):5222-5225. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.07.030. Epub 2018 Jul 26. PubMed PMID: 30057285.

Summarized by Will Dewispelaere, MS3 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

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