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J Neurovirol. 2001 Oct;7(5):400-8.

Infections of the central nervous system of suspected viral origin: a collaborative study from Finland.

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The Haartman Institute, Department of Virology, University of Helsinki, Finland. Marjaleena.Koskiniemi@Helsinki.FI


We studied 3231 patients with acute central nervous system (CNS) symptoms of suspected viral origin to elucidate the current etiologic spectrum. In 46% of the cases, a viral finding was observed. Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) was the main agent associated with encephalitis, as well as meningitis and myelitis. VZV comprised 29% of all confirmed or probable etiologic agents. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) and enteroviruses accounted 11% each, and influenza A virus 7%. VZV seems to have achieved a major role in viral infections of CNS. In encephalitis in our population, VZV is clearly more commonly associated with these neurological diseases than HSV. The increase in VZV findings may in part be a pseudophenomenon due to improved diagnostic methods, however, a true increase may have occurred and the pathogenetic mechanisms behind this should be elucidated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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