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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis


Other Names for this Disease
  • ADE
  • ADEM
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Cause


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What causes acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)?

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) may develop in the wake of a wide variety of infectious illnesses or immunizations. The agents most commonly identified include Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus (HSV), and mycoplasma.  ADEM is somewhat more common in the colder months of the year, during which these various viral illnesses are more prevalent. Prior to widespread immunization programs, measles was the most common associated illness. Now, most cases occur in the wake of respiratory or gastrointestinal illnesses that are presumed to be caused by viral infections; specific viral agents are seldom identified.[1]

Clear links between the Pasteur rabies vaccine and ADEM have been established. Immunizations less frequently associated with ADEM include pertussis, measles, Japanese B virus, tetanus, and influenza.[1]
Last updated: 10/31/2011

References
  1. Rust RS. Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis . eMedicine. November 2010; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1147044-overview#showall. Accessed 7/27/2011.