Symptoms of a full-blown Mollaret’s infection include severe headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and/or sound, malaise, and neck rigidity. Rarer symptoms include tachycardia, double vision and hallucinations. Because of the similarity in symptoms to benign migraine headache, sufferers of Mollaret’s have often been misdiagnosed by medical personnel. Without proper care, symptoms can escalate to seizures and even coma. Thus, a greater understanding and knowledge of this disease will facilitate better patient care in emergency situations.
Periods of severe illness usually last 3-4 days, separated by weeks or months between recurrences. However, many sufferers experience milder relapses, which although debilitating, do not necessitate hospitalization.
Unfortunately, along with each recurrence, whether mild or severe, comes the risk of further disability. Nearly half of those with the disease experience long-term negative effects of the nervous system. Permanent disabilities that can develop over time include memory loss, difficulty retaining information, lack of concentration, abnormal reflexes, clumsiness, coordination problems, loss of balance, residual headaches, hearing problems, tinnitus, speech problems, dizziness, learning difficulties (ranging from temporary learning deficiencies all the way to long term mental impairment), tachycardia, epilepsy, seizures, paralysis, muscle spasms, cerebral palsy, loss of sight, and changes in sight.