Why is it important to distinguish between types of encephalitis?

Updated: Aug 07, 2018
  • Author: David S Howes, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Although bacterial, fungal, and autoimmune disorders can produce encephalitis, most cases are viral in origin. Accordingly, in addition to standard blood and urine tests, studies may be performed to identify the infectious agent causing the encephalitis. [5] It is important, when possible, to distinguish acute arboviral encephalitides from potentially treatable acute viral encephalitides, especially herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) and varicella-zoster encephalitis, as a high suspicion for these disorders and prompt treatment can reduce the severity of neurological sequelae and can be lifesaving.

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