Human herpesvirus 6 variant A (HHV-6A) and human herpesvirus 6 variant B (HHV-6B) are two closely related yet distinct viruses. These visuses belong to the Roseolovirus genus of the betaherpesvirus subfamily; they are most closely related to human herpesvirus 7 and then to human cytomegalovirus. Over 95% of people older than 2 years of age are seropositive for either or both HHV-6 variants, and current serologic methods are incapable of discriminating infection with one variant from infection with the other. HHV-6A has not been etiologically linked to any human disease, but such an association will probably be found soon. HHV-6B is the etiologic agent of the common childhood illness exanthem subitum (roseola infantum or sixth disease) and related febrile illnesses. These viruses are frequently active and associated with illness in immunocompromised patients and may play a role in the etiology of Hodgkin's disease and other malignancies. HHV-6 is a commensal inhabitant of brains; various neurologic manifestations, including convulsions and encephalitis, can occur during primary HHV-6 infection or in immunocompromised patients. HHV-6 and distribution in the central nervous system are altered in patients with multiple sclerosis; the significance of this is under investigation.