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[Viral encephalitis: update].

Suspicion of viral encephalitis should always be considered as a medical emergency and the prognosis depend on both the immune status of the host and the virulence of the virus. Among them, the herpes simplex virus is by far the most important one since it can be associated with severe encephalitis in immunocompetent host, and because a good response to acyclovir can be expected when rapidly initiated. Nevertheless, confirmation of the diagnosis requires exclusion of both metabolic or toxic encephalopathy and inflammatory encephalitis of non-infectious origin. In addition, other germs than viruses can mimic viral encephalitis and must be taken into consideration. The purpose of this review is to update the investigation that should be performed in clinical practice for any patient with suspicion of acute viral encephalitis.

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