Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain structures: neurons, vessels or glial cells. However, a consensual definition of the syndrome is difficult to obtain, and it is even more difficult to define encephalitis due a specific agent. Most viruses can be responsible for infectious encephalitis, but the number of encephalitis cases is very limited with regards of the incidence of benign infections from these pathogens. Viruses responsible for encephalitis can be animal-borne, vector-borne or human-to-human transmitted, they can infect preferentially immunocompetent or immunosuppressed patients, and some of them have demonstrated their epidemic potential. Herpes simplex encephalitis is recognized worldwide as the most frequent infectious encephalitis, and the only one with a validated specific treatment. Encephalitis following some viral infections such as measles or rabies can be prevented by vaccination. Unfortunately, effective treatment currently lacks for most encephalitic viral agents identified so far.
Auteur : Stahl JP, Mailles A, Dacheux L, Morand P
Médecine et maladies infectieuses, 2011, vol. 41, n°. 9, p. 453-64