Central Nervous System Infections

Part of the Management of Common Diseases in Family Practice book series (MCDF)


One of the rarest but potentially most serious of all infections encountered by the general practitioner is an infection involving the central nervous system (c.n.s.). Meningitis and encephalitis are two distinct entities; although an element of both is usually present, one predominates, and they are usually discussed separately in most medical textbooks. To the average family doctor meningitis, or suspicion of meningitis, is an easier diagnosis to reach because of its cardinal signs. Encephalitis, however, merges into the differential diagnosis of toxic confusional states, epilepsy, drug overdose and major psychiatric illnesses. Encephalitis is also occasionally included in the differential diagnosis of cerebral vascular accident (CVA) especially if the patient is febrile.


Influenza Meningitis Straw Encephalitis Measle 
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  1. 1.
    Whitley, R.J., Soong, S.J., Dobin, R. et al (1977). Adenine arabinoside therapy of biopsy—proven herpes simplex encephalitis. N. Engl. J. Med., 297, 289–294PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Sköldenberg, B., Forsgren, M., Alestig, K., et al (1984). Lancet, 707–711Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Brooks and E.M. Dunbar 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Middleton, ManchesterUK
  2. 2.Regional Infectious Diseases UnitMonsall HospitalManchesterUK

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