2014, Number 1
Lethargic Encephalitis: Disease or Syndrome? Up-to-day in the Ethiopatogenics of the Von Economo Disease
PDF size: 858.46 Kb.
ABSTRACTBetween 1917-1920, the encephalitis lethargic was an epidemic neurological disease, often lethal. In adults it adopted various somatic manifestations with variable presentation (extrapyramidal symptoms [postencephalitic parkinsonism]/ cranial nerve dysfunction). This mysterious, epidemic and devastating disease led to the death of nearly 500,000 peoples in Central Europe between 1917 and 1920 called “sleeping sickness”. After 1940 the disease continued sporadically, but never in an epidemic manner. The original description is attributed to the Baron Constantin Von Economo, but he never correlated influenza etiologic microorganism with the development of encephalitis. This association was cleared after several decades until 2008. Currently it is considered a rare disorder with sporadic cases mentioned in the literature after 1921. Recently there are several agents identified sharing pathogenesis of this condition and its affinity to injure the substantia nigra bilaterally including: Coxsackievirus- seroconversion-B3, Japanese encephalitis virus, AN1H1 influenza virus, human herpes virus type-8, St. Louis virus, West Nile virus, and polioviruses. We present a case with lethargic encephalitis without identification of the etiologic agent.
Von Economo C. A case of chronic encephalitis lethargica with intermittent course. Remarks regarding ﬂu encephalitis (Translated in: van Bogeart L, Théodoridés J. Constantin Von Economo. The man and the scientist Verlag der Österreichischen Akadamie der Wissenschaften. Vienna 1979). Münchener medizinische Wochenschrift 1919;66:1311-1313.