Viral Meningitis and Encephalitis

Jennifer L. Lyons, MD Neuroinfectious Disease p. 1284-1297 October 2018, Vol.24, No.5 doi: 10.1212/CON.0000000000000650
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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This article discusses meningitis and encephalitis infections caused by viruses, excluding herpes family and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

RECENT FINDINGS: The viral infections of the nervous system detailed in this article have no specific treatment other than supportive care. However, many of the viruses discussed are highly preventable by vaccination, proper skin protection against transmitting vectors, and postexposure prophylaxis.

SUMMARY: While meningitis and encephalitis caused by viruses may have some clinical overlap, the management and outcomes can be highly disparate, making distinction between the two imperative. Furthermore, despite their relative rarity in terms of clinical disease, many of the viral infections discussed herein are highly preventable. Given the morbidity and mortality attached to such infections, provider and patient education are the best approach available to prevent these potentially devastating illnesses.

Address correspondence to Dr Jennifer L. Lyons, Division of Neurological Infections and Inflammatory Diseases, Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 60 Fenwood Rd, Boston, MA 02115, jlyons5@bwh.harvard.edu.

RELATIONSHIP DISCLOSURE: Dr Lyons has provided expert medical testimony on herpes encephalitis.

UNLABELED USE OF PRODUCTS/INVESTIGATIONAL USE DISCLOSURE: Dr Lyons reports no disclosure.

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© 2018 American Academy of Neurology