Current Geriatrics Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 34–41 | Cite as

Herpes Simplex Virus Encephalitis in Geriatric Patients

  • Uluhan Sili
  • Mustafa Emir Tavsanli
  • Asli Tufan
Infectious Diseases in the Elderly (M Schilling, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Infectious Diseases in the Elderly


Purpose of Review

Herpes simplex virus encephalitis (HSVE) is a rare, devastating infectious disease of the brain. We reviewed published case series to determine whether epidemiology, clinical characteristics, and prognosis of HSVE differed in geriatric patients.

Recent Findings

Geriatric patients have a higher incidence of HSVE and a worse prognosis than the rest of the adult population.


The gold standard to confirm HSVE diagnosis is to demonstrate HSV DNA in cerebrospinal fluid using polymerase chain reaction. Antiviral treatment with acyclovir prevents HSVE-related morbidity and mortality if started on time. Diagnosis and treatment of HSVE pose specific challenges due to comorbidities and medical conditions presenting with similar signs and symptoms commonly encountered in geriatric medicine. Thus, timely empirical treatment and confirmation of diagnosis in this patient population relies largely on astuteness of the clinician.


Herpes simplex encephalitis Central nervous system infections Encephalitis Herpes simplex virus Geriatrics 



We would like to thank medical writer Beril Tavsanli Sili, PhD, for giving the manuscript its final form.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Mustafa Emir Tavsanli, Uluhan Sili, and Asli Tufan declare no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uluhan Sili
    • 1
  • Mustafa Emir Tavsanli
    • 2
  • Asli Tufan
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Infectious Diseases and Clinical MicrobiologyMarmara University School of MedicineIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyIstanbul Okmeydani Research and Training HospitalIstanbulTurkey
  3. 3.Division of Geriatrics, Department of Internal MedicineMarmara University School of MedicineIstanbulTurkey

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