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Indian Pediatr. 2012 Nov;49(11):897-910.

Consensus guidelines on evaluation and management of suspected acute viral encephalitis in children in India.

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Department of Pediatrics, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi, India.



Viral encephalitis is an important cause of mortality and morbidity in children. The etiological agents are varied, and physicians treating such children often feel limited by the lack of uniform guidelines on evaluation and management of these critically ill children in resource-constrained settings.


An Expert Group Meeting on Viral Encephalitis in Children was held on 19th January, 2012 in Gurgaon, Haryana (under the aegis of PEDICON 2012, the National Conference of Indian Academy of Pediatrics). The invited experts included pediatricians and microbiologists with expertise in the relevant field. Various issues related to the subject were discussed and it was decided to bring out recommendations on the topic. The final recommendations were produced after circulating the draft document, and incorporating/discussing all changes, by email.


To aid the pediatrician in the evaluation and management of children with suspected viral encephalitis and to assist the public health authorities in acute encephalitis surveillance. These guidelines do not cover viral encephalitis in the neonatal period and in immunocompromised children, Rabies encephalitis, and chronic viral encephalitis such as Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE).


Recommendation for evaluation and management of suspected viral encephalitis in children are presented. In any acute encephalitis outbreak, pediatricians should be aware of the common viral causes of encephalitis in their area, what information and samples they should collect, and the contact details of the District Surveillance Unit. Pending specific diagnosis and therapy (which may or may not be possible), prompt empirical therapy and meticulous supportive care are important to prevent ongoing brain damage, and improve outcome.

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