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Neurol Clin. 2008 Aug;26(3):635-55, vii-viii. doi: 10.1016/j.ncl.2008.03.003.

Aseptic meningitis and viral myelitis.

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Department of Neurology, Holtom-Garrett Program in Neuroimmunology, University of Michigan Medical School, BSRB Room 4007, 109 Zina Pitcher Place, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200, USA.


Meningitis and myelitis represent common and very infrequent viral infections of the central nervous system, respectively. The number of cases of viral meningitis that occurs annually exceeds the total number of meningitis cases caused by all other etiologies combined. Focal central nervous system infections, such as occur in the spinal cord with viral myelitis, are much less common and may be confused with noninfectious disorders that cause acute flaccid paralysis. This article reviews some of the important clinical features, epidemiology, diagnostic approaches, and management strategies for patients with aseptic meningitis and viral myelitis. Particular focus is placed on the diseases caused by enteroviruses, which as a group account for most aseptic meningitis cases and many focal infections of the spinal cord.

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