A cluster of fulminant myocarditis cases in children, Baltimore, Maryland, 1997

A. W. Mounts, S. Amr, R. Jamshidi, C. Groves, D. Dwyer, J. Guarner, J. E. Dawson, M. S. Oberste, U. Parashar, P. Spevak, J. Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The true incidence of myocarditis in children is difficult to estimate because many mild cases go undetected. This study describes an unusual cluster of myocarditis cases that occurred in young children living in the greater Baltimore area between May and October 1997. A search of multiple comprehensive databases and interviews with area pediatric cardiologists were conducted to identify unreported cases and determine the background rate of myocarditis in the area. Seven cases of myocarditis were found as well as two with a similar clinical picture and myocardial fibrosis on tissue examination. Six case patients with active myocarditis and one child with fibrosis died. The case children were predominantly black (eight of nine) and male (seven of nine), with no identifiable risk factors. The disease was characterized by a fulminant course with malignant arrhythmias. The greatest number of pediatric myocarditis deaths reported in 1 year prior to 1997 was three. Myocardial tissues were examined using immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, and polymerase chain reaction but no etiologic agent was identified. This outbreak is unusual because of both the number of cases and the fulminant course of the disease in this group of children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-39
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Enterovirus
  • Myocarditis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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