What is the role of lymphocyte count in the workup of West Nile virus (WNV) infection and encephalitis (WNE)?

Updated: Apr 05, 2021
  • Author: David J Cennimo, MD, FAAP, FACP, AAHIVS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Although relative lymphopenia is not specific for WNE, it is a helpful diagnostic finding if present in a patient with aseptic meningitis, meningoencephalitis, or, particularly, encephalitis of unknown cause.

Although patients with HIV infection or Venezuelan equine encephalitis often present with relative lymphopenia, the relative lymphopenia of WNE is usually more profound and may be prolonged, which should be suggestive.


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