What you should know about SSPE A rare killer dsease that attacks children

What you should know about SSPE A rare killer dsease that attacks children


It has always been our endeavor to bring you the latest information about health and also disease. There is certain rare disease which many may not know about unless it hits you. To be forewarned is always to be forearmed and with this in mind, you need to know all about one of the most deadliest diseases. SSPE or Subacute sclerosing Panencephalitis which is a dangerous disorder of the brain. This article will tell you all about SSPE.

1 Factors you need to know about SSPE

SSPE is a progressive disease and can be fatal. It is most likely caused by an adverse reaction of the immune system to diseases such as measles or rubella. There are three important factors you need to know about SSPE.

  • The specific causes have not been determined and is unknown
  • Experts feel it is caused by mutations of the measles virus because of an abnormal immune response
  • You can prevent SSPE by getting vaccinated against measles. This information is particularly beneficial for children.
Factors you need to know about SSPE

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2 What Is SSPE? A Detailed Definition

SSPE or Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis is a rare disease that causes inflammation, irritation and swelling in the brain. Even if you have had measles it might suddenly occur years after that. SSPE is rare and attacks mostly children and adolescents. What’s unique about this disease is that it is common to males rather than females.

According to the NINDS National Institute of Neurological Disorders, SSPE is prevented by the measles vaccine where in the USA it accounts for less than 10 cases per year because of the routine measles vaccine programs.

Those who have been vaccinated against Measles won’t contract SCSPE. Neither will those who have had measles. As mentioned it is rare and can develop from an abnormal immune reaction to the measles virus which then results in a mutation. It is always better to be safe than sorry. The best way to avoid such a disease is to get measles vaccination in case you have had the disease.

What Is SSPE? A Detailed Definition

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3 The symptoms of SSPE?

The symptoms of SSPE are:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Impaired social abilities
  • Inability to focus and do class work or homework
  • Dementia and lethargy
  • Jerking and muscle spasms
  • Lax or tense muscles
  • Weakness and fatigue in legs
  • Imbalance
  • Seizures and coma

During seizures parents are advised to protect children and help them prevent injuries. Parents are also advised to recognize the symptoms correctly and not confuse them with other causes. In case of doubt always consult a doctor.

The symptoms of SSPE

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4 How is SSPE diagnosed and what is its treatment

These are the factors used for determining SSPE

  • Optic nerve damage
  • Muscle twitching
  • Impaired performance movement tests

Further tests that will be required are an electroencephalogram, MRI, Spinal tap, serum antibody titer which is a blood test that checks for any previous infection of measles.

Treatment of SSPE:

There is no cure at present for SSPE. Doctors prescribe antiviral drugs that retard the progression of the condition. Anticonvulsant drugs are also administered to control seizures. According to NINDS, SSPE can be fatal and victims can succumb within one to three years to the disease. Some people tend to live longer.

How is SSPE diagnosed and what is its treatment

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5 How to prevent SSPE

The best possible way to prevent Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis is to get measles vaccine in case your child or you have not contracted measles as yet. As per WHO (World Health Organization), the measles vaccine is perfectly safe. On WHO recommendations, children should be immunized with two doses of measles vaccine, or with a MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), or a Measles –rubella combination. Adults who haven’t received these immunizations should get immunized immediately. In case you haven’t been immunized for measles, you should consult your doctor.

Measles can cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Pneumonia
  • Inflammation of your brain

Measles can even cause death. Getting the vaccine is a simple and safe way to keep yourself safe.

Measles can cause

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About the author / 

Andrew Alpin