What causes acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)?

Updated: Nov 08, 2018
  • Author: J Nicholas Brenton, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) may develop in the wake of a wide variety of infectious illnesses or immunizations, especially those associated with large envelope-bearing viruses. Among the agents most commonly identified by titer rise suggesting responsibility for the prodromal phase are Ebstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus (HSV), and mycoplasma; however, a particular agent is identified only in a minority of ADEM cases.

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