Measles epidemics of various size are being reported from many countries in Europe: data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control shows about 3000 cases of measles in the last year. Rates of immunisation tend to decline because of concerns about safety and necessity of vaccines, health workers’ hesitancy, parents’ mistrust or perceived “freedom of choice”, also supported by the media. Measles virus can affect the central nervous system (CNS), causing acute viral or post-infectious measles encephalitis, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) and measles inclusion-body encephalitis (MIBE). This talk will overview these complications. MIBE and SSPE show clinical similarities but can be differentiated on the basis of the immune status of the host and the duration of the latent period after the primary measles infection.
We encourage pediatricians and pediatric neurologists to consider measles as a potential trigger of neurological problems, record and report their cases for their instructive value. A de-identified patient registry is being proposed for an international survey.