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Emerging infections and pandemic preparedness 

Emerging infections and pandemic preparedness
Chapter:
Emerging infections and pandemic preparedness
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198729228.003.0013
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date: 26 June 2019

Encephalitis is a rare, but devastating, disease in children. It is defined by the presence of an inflammatory process of the brain in association with clinical evidence of neurological dysfunction. In children, it is most commonly caused by infection, usually viral, but may also have metabolic, toxin-/drug-mediated, autoimmune vasculitic, malignant, or genetic origins. Encephalitis in children may manifest as either acute encephalitis (direct invasion of the central nervous system) or post-infectious encephalitis (post-infectious, immune-mediated demyelination). The diagnosis of encephalitis is usually confirmed from a combination of clinical presentation and brain imaging; it is very rarely proven by histology which requires brain biopsy. Meningo-encephalitis describes the presence of clinical encephalitis with inflammatory changes in the cerebrospinal fluid, implying coexisting inflammation of the covering meninges.

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