What is AHLE or Acute Hemorrhagic Leukoencephalitis?

AHLE is a very rare form of Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis. It typically results in death. It is a short but intense attack of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord that damages myelin, which is the protective covering of the nerve fibers. Bleeding in the brain can also occur which leads to damage of the white matter.

What Are the Symptoms?

Symptoms usually come on quickly and can include:

  • Fever
  • Neck stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Coma

How Do You Get AHLE?

The exact cause is unclear. This disorder usually follows a viral or bacterial infection. Occasionally, it can follow a measles or rabies vaccination. It is thought that the infection or vaccination initiates an autoimmune response in the body that leads to it.

How Is AHLE Diagnosed?

It is diagnosed through an MRI and brain biopsy.

Is There a Treatment?

While this disorder is typically fatal, prompt treatment with immunosuppressant medications and plasma exchange may lead to an improved outcome.

Helpful Resources


Leukodystrophy Care Network