Limits of early diagnosis of herpes simplex encephalitis in children: a retrospective study of 38 cases

Clin Infect Dis. 2003 May 15;36(10):1335-9. doi: 10.1086/374839. Epub 2003 May 1.


The prognosis of herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) depends on the early and appropriate administration of specific antiviral therapy. We retrospectively reviewed 38 cases of children with proven HSE, to evaluate the reliability of polymerase chain reaction results, according to the time of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sampling. Initial negative results were observed in 8 of 33 CSF samples drawn before day 3 of the disease and were significantly associated with a low level of protein and <10 leukocytes/mm3 in the CSF.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Encephalitis, Herpes Simplex / diagnosis*
  • Encephalitis, Herpes Simplex / virology
  • Female
  • Herpes Simplex* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies