Infection–associated encephalopathies—their investigation, diagnosis, and treatment
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- Davies, N.W.S., Sharief, M.K. & Howard, R.S. J Neurol (2006) 253: 833. doi:10.1007/s00415-006-0092-4
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Reduced level of consciousness is a common clinical finding in acutely sick patients. In the majority of cases a cause for the encephalopathy is readily identifiable,whilst in a minority the aetiology is more difficult to ascertain.
Frequently the onset of encephalopathy is associated with, or follows, infection. The mechanisms through which infection leads to encephalopathy are diverse. They range from direct microbial invasion of the brain or its supporting structures, to remote, infectiontriggered mechanisms such as acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. Most common however, is the encephalopathy caused through a remote effect of systemic sepsis—septic encephalopathy.
This article discusses the clinical presentation and underlying pathogeneses of the acute encephalopathies associated with infection, aiming to aid both their recognition and treatment.
Key wordsencephalopathy encephalitis CNS infection neuroimmunology
acute disseminated encephalomyelitis
acute haemorrhagic leukoencephalopathy
acute infectious encephalitis
acute toxic encephalopathy
central nervous system
Epstein Barr virus
herpes simplex encephalitis
herpes simplex virus
Japanese encephalitis virus
polymerase chain reaction
peripheral nervous system
periodic lateralised epileptiform discharges
United States of America
West Nile Virus