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J Glob Infect Dis. 2019 Jan-Mar;11(1):7-12. doi: 10.4103/jgid.jgid_26_18.

Clinico-epidemiological Study of Viral Acute Encephalitis Syndrome Cases and Comparison to Nonviral Cases in Children from Eastern India.

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Department of Pediatrics, SVP Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics, SCB Medical College, Cuttack, Odisha,, India.
Regional Medical Research Centre, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India.
Department of Pediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India.



The objective is to study the clinico-epidemiological features of viral acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) cases and compare them with nonviral AES cases in children from Eastern India.


This prospective observational study was conducted in the department of pediatrics of a tertiary care teaching hospital in Eastern India over 18-month period. Children (6 months to 15 years) with acute onset of fever (≥37.5°C) and a change in mental status (including symptoms such as confusion, disorientation, coma, or inability to talk) and/or new onset of seizures (excluding simple febrile seizures) were included in the study. The main outcome measures were the etiology and proportion attributed to viruses causing AES with clinical correlation.


Of 834 of clinically suspected AES cases, viral etiology could be confirmed in 136 (16.3%) cases (herpes simplex virus-1 [HSV-I] was most common). The 5-15 years' age group was most commonly affected (boys > girls). More cases occurred from July to November. The presence of rash and Glasgow Coma Scale <8 at admission was significantly higher in viral AES. During hospitalization, development of shock, ventilatory requirement, duration of stay, and mortality was significantly higher in viral AES. On neuroimaging, global cerebral injury was common in HSV, Japanese encephalitis, and varicella-virus AES.


Viral etiology forms a significant proportion of pediatric AES. Morbidity and mortality are high in viral compared to nonviral AES. Herpes encephalitis (HSV-I) is the most common cause of pediatric AES in Eastern India. Viral AES has poor prognosis compared to nonviral AES.


Encephalitis; encephalopathy; mortality; pediatric; polymerase chain reaction; viruses

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