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Dawson or van Bogaert encephalitis

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Predominant in children younger than 12 years of age. Onset between the age of 5 and 20 years. There is a history of measles before 2 years of age. Asymptomatic for 6 to 8 years, then gradual onset. Early there is intellectual deterioration, jerky movements of trunk and extremities. Progrediates fast with bilateral spasticity, decerebrate rigidity, cachexia and dementia. Possibly, cranial nerve palsies, in the end blindness, but vision usually spared until last stage. Younger children die within months; adolescents may survive for months or even years.

Divry-Van Bogaert disease is a separate entity. See under Van Bogaert.


  • J. R. Dawson Jr:
    Cellular inclusions in cerebral lesions of lethargic encephalitis.
    American Journal of Pathology, Philadelphia, 1933; 9: 7-16. Cellular inclusions in cerebral lesions of epidemic encephalitis.
    Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, Chicago, 1934; 31: 685-700.

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