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Viruses are a common cause of central nervous system (CNS) infections with many host, agent, and environmental factors influencing the expression of viral diseases. Viruses can be responsible for CNS disease through a variety of mechanisms including direct infection and replication within the CNS resulting in encephalitis, infection limited to the meninges, or immune-related processes such as acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. Common pathogens including herpes simplex virus, varicella zoster, and enterovirus are responsible for the greatest number of cases in immunocompetent hosts. Other herpes viruses (eg, cytomegalovirus, John Cunningham virus) are more common in immunocompromised hosts. Arboviruses such as Japanese encephalitis virus and Zika virus are important pathogens globally, but the prevalence varies significantly by geographic region and often season. Early diagnosis from radiographic evidence and molecular (eg, rapid) diagnostics is important for targeted therapy. Antivirals may be used effectively against some pathogens, although several viruses have no effective treatment. This article provides a review of epidemiology, diagnostics, and management of common viral pathogens in CNS disease.

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APA Citation

Bookstaver, P. B., Mohorn, P. L., Shah, A., Tesh, L. D., Quidley, A. M., Kothari, R., Bland, C. M., & Weissman, S. (2017). Management of Viral Central Nervous System infections: A Primer for clinicians. Journal of Central Nervous System Disease, 9, 117957351770334.


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CC BY-NC 3.0; © The Author(s) 2017