Acute cerebellar ataxia (acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia)AAcute cerebellar ataxia (acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia)Acute cerebellar ataxia (acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia)EnglishNeurologyChild (0-12 years);Teen (13-18 years)BrainBrainConditions and diseasesCaregivers Adult (19+)NA2015-03-19T04:00:00ZJulia Sorbara, MD;Elizabeth Berger, BA, MD, FRCPC, FAAP, MHPE​10.000000000000048.0000000000000963.000000000000Health (A-Z) - ConditionsHealth A-Z<p>This page outlines what you need to know about acute cerebellar ataxia</p><h2>What is acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia?</h2><p>Ataxia is a movement disorder, which is a condition where body movements are difficult to control or occur involuntarily. These disorders occur when areas of the brain that are used for movement, sensation and speech are damaged. Some causes of ataxia in children include: infection, head injury, prescription drugs, and toxins such as illicit drugs, lead poisoning and carbon monoxide.</p><p>Acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia is the most common form of acute ataxia found in children.</p><p>The following definitions can be helpful in understanding the term acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia:</p><ul><li>Acute – all signs and symptoms appear within a short period of time, in this case within two days.</li><li>Post-infectious – occurring after an infection.</li><li>Cerebellar – coming from the cerebellum. The cerebellum is a part of the brain important in controlling movement.</li></ul><p>It is most commonly seen between the ages of two and five, but can also occur in older children.</p><h2>Key points</h2> <ul> <li>Ataxia is a movement disorder that can occur in children.</li> <li>Acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia is the most common cause of acute ataxia in children and is diagnosed after more serious conditions have been excluded.</li> <li>Most children return to normal without treatment.</li> <li>Seek medical attention for any major changes to your child’s movements or changes to their level of consciousness.</li> </ul><h2>Signs and symptoms of ataxia</h2><p>A child with ataxia has difficulty controlling their movements and may appear clumsy or awkward. They may have some of the following symptoms:</p><ul><li>falling while trying to walk or stand</li><li>difficulty walking in a straight line</li><li>bending forwards while walking</li><li>walking with feet spread wide apart</li><li>difficulty speaking </li><li>slurred or unclear speech</li><li>abnormal eye movements</li><li> <a href="/Article?contentid=29&language=English">headache</a></li><li> <a href="/Article?contentid=746&language=English">vomiting</a></li></ul><h2>What causes acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia?</h2><p>When a child has an infection, the body’s immune system produces antibodies that act to destroy viruses and bacteria. Sometimes the antibodies act against the cerebellum, mistaking it for a virus or bacteria. The antibodies can also sometimes trigger other parts of the immune system to affect the cerebellum. In both cases, the child’s cerebellum is temporarily affected by the immune system and does not work properly. As a result, the child will not be able to control their movements normally, leading to ataxia. </p><p>The typical timeline of acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia is as follows: </p><ul><li>A child will get an infection, usually with a fever.</li><li>The infection and fever get better.</li><li>A few days to three weeks later ataxia starts to develop. Difficulty with walking is the most common symptom. </li><li>Ataxia develops quickly, usually over the course of one to two days. </li></ul><p>Acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia can occur after many types of infections. About 20% of cases have been linked to <a href="/Article?contentid=760&language=English">varicella (chicken pox)</a>, but it can also develop after other viral infections, some types of <a href="/Article?contentid=784&language=English">pneumonia</a>, and <a href="/Article?contentid=909&language=English">Lyme disease</a>.</p><p>Some viruses that can cause post-infectious cerebellar ataxia are prevented with routine vaccinations. Therefore, keeping <a href="/Article?contentid=1986&language=English">vaccines up to date</a> can help to prevent this condition. </p><h2>How is acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia diagnosed?</h2> <p>There is no specific test for acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia. Instead, it is diagnosed by a process of elimination, where more serious types of ataxia are first excluded. </p> <p>Your child’s history, or the description of recent events leading up to the ataxia, will help their medical team make this diagnosis. They will be looking for a recent infection, as well as acute onset of your child’s ataxia. The medical team may also ask about other signs or symptoms, such as persistent fever, seizures or neck pain, which could point to a different cause of the ataxia.</p> <p>Your child will undergo a physical exam, with a focus on their nervous system. The medical team will look for the signs and symptoms of ataxia. They will also look for symptoms that could suggest a different diagnosis.</p> <p>Based on your child’s history and physical exam, their medical team may suggest more tests. These can include blood work or imaging the brain using a CT scan or MRI.</p><h2>Treatment of acute post-infections cerebellar ataxia</h2> <p>Post-infectious cerebellar ataxia usually goes away on its own, and does not require treatment.</p> <p>However, your child may be sent home from the hospital while still experiencing symptoms of ataxia. In this case, special precautions must be taken to keep your child safe.</p> <h3>Taking care of your child at home</h3> <p>Your child may be sent home before their ataxia has gone away. Your child may have difficulty walking and may fall easily. It is very important to make sure the home environment is safe for your child during this time. You may have to supervise your child at all times throughout the day. Please talk to your child’s doctor if you need a letter to stay home from work or school to supervise your child.</p> <p>It is important that you are comfortable taking your child home before they can walk or move normally. Please talk to your child’s medical team if you are worried about keeping your child safe at home.</p> <h3>Will my child go back to normal? When?</h3> <p>In the majority of cases, acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia goes away completely in two to three weeks. Most children have no lasting problems with walking or with other movements.</p><h2>When to see a doctor</h2><p>Make an appointment with your child’s doctor if:</p><ul><li>your child’s ataxia is not improving after two weeks</li><li>your child’s ataxia returns after it has gone away</li><li>your child develops a <a href="/Article?contentid=30&language=English">fever</a> (temperature taken by mouth of 37.8°C (100°F) or higher)</li></ul><h3>Go to your nearest Emergency Department or call 911 if:</h3><ul><li>your child becomes confused or disoriented</li><li>your child becomes unresponsive, or very sleepy and difficult to wake up</li><li>your child has new abnormal movements that could be seizures</li><li>your child develops severe neck pain and a fever</li><li>your child develops a severe headache</li></ul>

 

 

Acute cerebellar ataxia (acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia)2312.00000000000Acute cerebellar ataxia (acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia)Acute cerebellar ataxia (acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia)AEnglishNeurologyChild (0-12 years);Teen (13-18 years)BrainBrainConditions and diseasesCaregivers Adult (19+)NA2015-03-19T04:00:00ZJulia Sorbara, MD;Elizabeth Berger, BA, MD, FRCPC, FAAP, MHPE​10.000000000000048.0000000000000963.000000000000Health (A-Z) - ConditionsHealth A-Z<p>This page outlines what you need to know about acute cerebellar ataxia</p><h2>What is acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia?</h2><p>Ataxia is a movement disorder, which is a condition where body movements are difficult to control or occur involuntarily. These disorders occur when areas of the brain that are used for movement, sensation and speech are damaged. Some causes of ataxia in children include: infection, head injury, prescription drugs, and toxins such as illicit drugs, lead poisoning and carbon monoxide.</p><p>Acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia is the most common form of acute ataxia found in children.</p><p>The following definitions can be helpful in understanding the term acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia:</p><ul><li>Acute – all signs and symptoms appear within a short period of time, in this case within two days.</li><li>Post-infectious – occurring after an infection.</li><li>Cerebellar – coming from the cerebellum. The cerebellum is a part of the brain important in controlling movement.</li></ul><p>It is most commonly seen between the ages of two and five, but can also occur in older children.</p><h2>Key points</h2> <ul> <li>Ataxia is a movement disorder that can occur in children.</li> <li>Acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia is the most common cause of acute ataxia in children and is diagnosed after more serious conditions have been excluded.</li> <li>Most children return to normal without treatment.</li> <li>Seek medical attention for any major changes to your child’s movements or changes to their level of consciousness.</li> </ul><h2>Signs and symptoms of ataxia</h2><p>A child with ataxia has difficulty controlling their movements and may appear clumsy or awkward. They may have some of the following symptoms:</p><ul><li>falling while trying to walk or stand</li><li>difficulty walking in a straight line</li><li>bending forwards while walking</li><li>walking with feet spread wide apart</li><li>difficulty speaking </li><li>slurred or unclear speech</li><li>abnormal eye movements</li><li> <a href="/Article?contentid=29&language=English">headache</a></li><li> <a href="/Article?contentid=746&language=English">vomiting</a></li></ul><h2>What causes acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia?</h2><p>When a child has an infection, the body’s immune system produces antibodies that act to destroy viruses and bacteria. Sometimes the antibodies act against the cerebellum, mistaking it for a virus or bacteria. The antibodies can also sometimes trigger other parts of the immune system to affect the cerebellum. In both cases, the child’s cerebellum is temporarily affected by the immune system and does not work properly. As a result, the child will not be able to control their movements normally, leading to ataxia. </p><p>The typical timeline of acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia is as follows: </p><ul><li>A child will get an infection, usually with a fever.</li><li>The infection and fever get better.</li><li>A few days to three weeks later ataxia starts to develop. Difficulty with walking is the most common symptom. </li><li>Ataxia develops quickly, usually over the course of one to two days. </li></ul><p>Acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia can occur after many types of infections. About 20% of cases have been linked to <a href="/Article?contentid=760&language=English">varicella (chicken pox)</a>, but it can also develop after other viral infections, some types of <a href="/Article?contentid=784&language=English">pneumonia</a>, and <a href="/Article?contentid=909&language=English">Lyme disease</a>.</p><p>Some viruses that can cause post-infectious cerebellar ataxia are prevented with routine vaccinations. Therefore, keeping <a href="/Article?contentid=1986&language=English">vaccines up to date</a> can help to prevent this condition. </p><h2>How is acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia diagnosed?</h2> <p>There is no specific test for acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia. Instead, it is diagnosed by a process of elimination, where more serious types of ataxia are first excluded. </p> <p>Your child’s history, or the description of recent events leading up to the ataxia, will help their medical team make this diagnosis. They will be looking for a recent infection, as well as acute onset of your child’s ataxia. The medical team may also ask about other signs or symptoms, such as persistent fever, seizures or neck pain, which could point to a different cause of the ataxia.</p> <p>Your child will undergo a physical exam, with a focus on their nervous system. The medical team will look for the signs and symptoms of ataxia. They will also look for symptoms that could suggest a different diagnosis.</p> <p>Based on your child’s history and physical exam, their medical team may suggest more tests. These can include blood work or imaging the brain using a CT scan or MRI.</p><h2>Treatment of acute post-infections cerebellar ataxia</h2> <p>Post-infectious cerebellar ataxia usually goes away on its own, and does not require treatment.</p> <p>However, your child may be sent home from the hospital while still experiencing symptoms of ataxia. In this case, special precautions must be taken to keep your child safe.</p> <h3>Taking care of your child at home</h3> <p>Your child may be sent home before their ataxia has gone away. Your child may have difficulty walking and may fall easily. It is very important to make sure the home environment is safe for your child during this time. You may have to supervise your child at all times throughout the day. Please talk to your child’s doctor if you need a letter to stay home from work or school to supervise your child.</p> <p>It is important that you are comfortable taking your child home before they can walk or move normally. Please talk to your child’s medical team if you are worried about keeping your child safe at home.</p> <h3>Will my child go back to normal? When?</h3> <p>In the majority of cases, acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia goes away completely in two to three weeks. Most children have no lasting problems with walking or with other movements.</p><h2>When to see a doctor</h2><p>Make an appointment with your child’s doctor if:</p><ul><li>your child’s ataxia is not improving after two weeks</li><li>your child’s ataxia returns after it has gone away</li><li>your child develops a <a href="/Article?contentid=30&language=English">fever</a> (temperature taken by mouth of 37.8°C (100°F) or higher)</li></ul><h3>Go to your nearest Emergency Department or call 911 if:</h3><ul><li>your child becomes confused or disoriented</li><li>your child becomes unresponsive, or very sleepy and difficult to wake up</li><li>your child has new abnormal movements that could be seizures</li><li>your child develops severe neck pain and a fever</li><li>your child develops a severe headache</li></ul>Acute cerebellar ataxia (acute post-infectious cerebellar ataxia)

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