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I have heard subacute sclerosing panencephalitis is a progressive and usually fatal disorder. When I found out that is a rare complication of measles that appears months or years later, I was so scared. I found out it produces mental deterioration, muscle jerks, and seizures. Now I want to hear more about this scary problem of panencephalitis. Can you tell me more about its symptoms?

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Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis results from a long-term brain infection with the measles virus, as you already know. The virus sometimes enters the brain during a measles infection, which may cause immediate symptoms of brain infection. Beside this, it may remain in the brain for a long time without causing problems. Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis occurs because the measles virus reactivates, but the reasons why this happens are not known. Symptoms and diagnosis determines the age, because the disorder usually begins in children or young adults, generally before age 20. The first symptoms may be poor performance in schoolwork, distractibility, sleeplessness, and hallucinations. Eventually, in some patients of panencephalitis seizures may occur, together with abnormal uncontrollable muscle movements. Intellect and speech continue to deteriorate, but later, the muscles become increasingly rigid, and swallowing may become difficult. The swallowing difficulty sometimes causes the person to choke on his saliva, resulting in pneumonia, and the patient may become blind. In the final phases, the body temperature may rise, and the blood pressure and pulse become abnormal, which is great problem as well. A doctor makes the diagnosis based on the symptoms, which can be confirmed by a blood test that reveals high levels of antibody to the measles virus.
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