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Evolution of certain typical and atypical features in a case of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis


Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a slowly progressive inflammatory disease of the central nervous system caused by a persistent measles virus usually affecting the childhood and adolescent age group. Clinical features at onset are very subtle and non-specific. Certain atypical features can occur at onset or during the course of illness which can be misleading. Neuroimaging features often are non-specific. Features like myoclonic jerks, cognitive decline and typical EEG findings lead to a strong suspicion of SSPE. Here, we describe the stagewise progression of a case of SSPE in a 14-year-old girl who had myoclonic jerks and cognitive decline at onset. During the course of disease, the patient developed cortical vision loss, atypical extrapyramidal features like segmental and hemifacial dystonia ultimately leading to a bedbound vegetative state. EEG showed typical periodic discharges along with positive cerebrospinal fluid serology for measles.

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