Herpes simplex viral encephalitis: causes, symptoms and treatment
Article written by Doctor Le Xuan Luat - Vinmec Times City International General Hospital.
1. HSV . encephalitis
When it comes to encephalitis, it is often understood as encephalitis caused by a virus. HSV encephalitis is an acute, sporadic, non-seasonal infection of the central nervous system. HSV invades brain parenchyma, causing necrosis with cerebral hemorrhage.
HSV encephalitis usually has a rapid onset, is acute, and has a high mortality rate. Symptoms include fever, confusion, and severe development. If detected early, timely specific treatment, intensive care, patients have a better prognosis.
There are many viruses that can cause encephalitis, Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is one of the common causes. Of the eight strains of HSV that can cause disease in humans, HSV-1 is the most common cause of encephalitis in humans. HSV causes encephalitis mainly by HSV-1, accounting for more than 95% of cases of encephalitis caused by HSV. For the rest, HSV-2 accounts for less than 5% of cases.
The prevalence of encephalitis caused by HSV-1 in humans is 2-4/1,000,000 people. Among viral encephalitis deaths, HSV-1 accounts for 10%-20% of the 20,000 annual viral encephalitis infections.
HSV is a virus of the family Herpeviridae. HSV has a double-stranded DNA structure that is capable of self-replicating in host cells. The name herpes is derived from the Greek word, herpein, meaning "to creep" to describe the potential infective capacity of this group of viruses.
HSV is classified as a cause of primary encephalitis, due to its ability to persist latent in the human body for a long time, the virus reactivates and invades the central nervous system causing encephalitis.
3. Clinical symptoms
Sudden, acute onset. The patient has a high fever and headache. Patients may change perception, reduce memory, change personality, change smell perception, more severe may have coma, convulsions. Examination may show a stiff neck or Kernig's sign.
4. Diagnosis of HSV . encephalitis
HSV encephalitis should be considered in any patient presenting with acute encephalitis. To confirm the diagnosis, it is necessary to take cerebrospinal fluid for testing such as PCR for HSV. In addition, cranial magnetic resonance imaging is also essential in the diagnosis.
5. Specific treatment
Specific treatment for HSV is Acycolvir intravenous infusion . When detected early, and HSV encephalitis is suspected, Acyclovir should be prescribed as soon as possible.
6. Supportive treatment
Patients with HSV encephalitis need intensive treatment in the early stages in the intensive care unit, need to monitor vital functions such as breathing and circulation closely. Other supportive treatment such as:
Reduce fever with paracetamol. Rehydration, correction of fluid and electrolyte disturbances. Treatment of convulsions. Use antibiotics if there is a bacterial superinfection.
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If you notice any unusual health problems, you should visit and consult with a specialist.
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