- The measles virus will sometimes travel to the brain where it lays dormant for years, reappearing as sub-acute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), a debilitating brain disorder.
- SSPE is now thought to be more common than previously thought affecting 1 in every 1400 children who contract measles below the age of five years.
- SSPE commences many years later, on average ten years, after a measles outbreak. It has no cure.
There is no cure for SSPE and the only way to prevent it is to vaccinate everyone against measles, Cherry said. Some antiviral drugs, however, may slow the progression of the disease. Though people with SSPE often die one to two years after diagnosis, some may live slightly longer, he said.
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