What is the most common neurological complication of pediatric chickenpox?

Updated: Nov 30, 2018
  • Author: Kirsten A Bechtel, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Acute postinfectious cerebellar ataxia is the most common neurological complication, with an incidence of 1 case per 4000 patients with varicella. Ataxia has sudden onset that usually occurs 2-3 weeks after the onset of varicella. Manifestations may range from mild unsteadiness to complete inability to stand and walk, with accompanying incoordination and dysarthria. Manifestations are maximal at onset; a waxing and waning course suggests another diagnosis. The sensorium is clear, even when the ataxia is profound.


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