JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Viral meningitis

David R Chadwick
British Medical Bulletin 2005, 75-76: 1-14
16474042
Viruses probably account for most cases of acute meningitis. Viral meningitis is often assumed to be a largely benign disease. For the commonest pathogens causing meningitis, enteroviruses, this is usually the case; however, for many of the other pathogens causing viral meningitis, and for common pathogens in the immunocompromised or infants, viral meningitis is frequently associated with substantial neurological complications and a significant mortality. Diagnostic methods for rapid and accurate identification of pathogens have improved over recent years, permitting more precise and earlier diagnoses. There have been fewer developments in therapies for viral meningitis, and there remain no effective therapies for most pathogens, emphasising the importance of prevention and early diagnosis. This review focuses on the presentation, diagnosis and management of viral meningitis and also covers the prevention of meningitis for pathogens where effective vaccines are available.

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