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Klin Padiatr. 2002 Nov-Dec;214(6):327-31.

[Diagnosis and outcome of neurotropic enterovirus infections in childhood].

[Article in German]

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Pädiatrische Neurologie, Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany.



Enterovirus infections are among the most common causes of aseptic meningitis. Worldwide there are reports about recurring outbreaks, especially during the summer. They are favoured by conditions of bad hygiene and contaminated water, transmission is predominantly through the faeco-oral route or by droplet infection. The most common species are Coxsackie B and ECHO (Enteric Cytopathogenic Human Orphan) virus. ECHO viruses have a worldwide distribution and usually occur as "summer flu" or aseptic meningitis and meningoencephalitis in toddlers and infants. Type 30 caused an outbreak of aseptic meningitis in the Rhein-Main region in summer 1997. During five months 63 children younger than 16 years were reported.


During this outbreak 18 children with prooved enterovirus infections were treated at the Frankfurt/Main University Children's Hospital. Standardized infectiological diagnostic procedures were performed and risc factors, clinical symptoms, inflammatory marker, neurophysiological findings (electroencephalography, evoked potentials) and outcome were assessed.


The affected children were between 3 and 11 years old. Clinical symptoms were cephalgia, nausea, vomiting, meningism and seizures with fever. Virus isolation from faecal and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples and the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was superior to serological methods. Erythrocyte sedimentation rates showed more significant increase than C-reactive protein (CRP) and blood leukocytes. CSF pleocytosis showed high variation. Clinical course as well as prognosis and outcome were favourable.


Virusisolation in stool and CSF is most promising in the diagnostic of cerebral enterovirus infections. Usually the outcome is favourable, encephalitis can occur as serious complication.

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