The sixth member of the herpesvirus family to be discovered.

Other herpesviruses include the Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex one and two.

All of the herpes-family viruses stay in the body for life, usually lying dormant.

Symptoms are most likely when patients are infected, but it is possible for the virus to reactivate at some point.

HHV-6 can target the nervous system, the immune system and other organs.

It comes in two types, called A and B: HHV-6 A is rare and is usually found in adults, while the B type generally infects children.

HHV-6 B is more common.

More than 90 percent of individuals are infected during the first three years of life and therefore carry it around for the vast majority of our lives.

The initial infection is usually asymptomatic.

HHV-6 B has been linked to chronic epilepsy and encephalitis.

In babies and young children, it may also cause: Bulging in the skull’s soft spots, nausea, vomiting, stiffness, irritability, poor feeding, sleeping through feeding times.

Following the fever, a rash may develop that is asymptomatic.

The rash usually begins on they torso, and some of the spots may have a white ring around them.

The rash may start on the torso and spread to the limbs and possibly the face

The rash can go away in a little as a few hours or stay for several days.

It is not usually serious, but febrile seizures can occur, as can epilepsy and encephalitis,

HHV-6 reactivation occurs most commonly in people with an immune system that’s compromised by illness or medication.

Diseases linked to HHV-6 reactivation:

Autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome)

Bone marrow suppression.

Cancer-Hodgkin lymphoma, gliomas, cervical cancer

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Cognitive dysfunction



Endocrine disorders


Heart disease (myocarditis, arteriopathies, left ventricle dysfunction)

Hypersensitivity (Stevens-Johnson syndrome, negative reactions to drugs)

Kidney disease

Liver disease (hepatitis, HIV/AIDS-related)

Lung disease­­­ (organizing pneumonia, pneumonitis)


The vast majority of people infected with this virus have no symptoms at all, and many have only mild, short-term symptoms.

Blood tests can detect whether an HHV-6 infection has been present, but most people carry the virus since childhood.

Blood antibody levels can indicate an active infection rather than a latent one.

A negative blood test for HHV-6 does not rule out an active infection, as HHV-6 can infect a single organ, including the brain, heart, lungs, liver, and uterus.

There is no vaccine for preventing HHV-6.

No antiviral therapy is known to be effective.

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