Options in the Treatment of Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis: Implications for Low Resource Areas

Pauline Samia, Katherine Oyieke, Dorcas Tunje, Anaita Udwadia-Hegde, Kristen Feemster, Ibrahim Oncel, Banu Anlar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of the review: Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a rare, slowly progressive, and frequently fatal neurodegenerative disorder caused by measles virus. The risk of SSPE remains significant globally, with fluctuating incidence noted in in tandem with measles vaccine uptake. This review aims to explore the current global status of SSPE, its treatment, and preventive measures. Recent findings: An increase in measles cases have been reported in various parts of the world for different reasons related to the regional context of the outbreak. With reduction in measles vaccine doses since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the future risk of SSPE can only accelerate. In recent years, subsequent cases of SSPE have been reported in the period following documented measles outbreaks in different settings. Concomitantly, there have been efforts to evaluate the efficacy of immunomodulatory, antiviral, and anti-seizure therapies that could ameliorate the devastating effects of this disease. This review elucidates on these approaches and their limitations, reasons for poor vaccine coverage in low- and middle-income countries, as well as the possible solutions to the prevention of measles and eventual avoidance of SSPE. Summary: Prevention of measles virus infection with the resultant sequelae would be the most effective strategy for the management of SSPE. This approach would be particularly important in low resource setting that currently bears the double burden of widespread communicable diseases and malnutrition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-110
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Antiviral agent
  • Measles complication
  • SSPE
  • Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis
  • Treatment


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