An 8 year old girl presented with progressive change of personality and spastic ataxia since 4 weeks. A year before she had developed focal grand-mal-seizures; at this time laboratory and radiologic findings were normal. The EEG on admission demonstrated marked changes with partially focal, partially generalized hypersynchronic activity, but no SSPE-typical Radermecker-complexes. There were no cells in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a slightly increased level of protein and a normal glucose. Isoelectric focusing showed predominantly measles-specific oligoclonal IgG bands in the CSF. In the magnetic resonance tomography multiple focal white matter lesions in the basal ganglia as well as in cortical and occipitoparietal regions could be seen. At the age of two the girl had suffered from measles, the child didn't receive any vaccination. The combination of history, CSF-, MRI-results and EEG lead to the diagnosis of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE). After 3 months the clinical and radiological abnormalities had markedly increased. On the background of this history SSPE should be considered as differential diagnosis in patients with changes of personality.