Fifteen minute consultation: managing neonatal and childhood herpes encephalitis

Arch Dis Child Educ Pract Ed. 2015 Apr;100(2):58-63. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2014-306321. Epub 2014 Aug 11.


Herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) is the most common single cause of viral encephalitis in infants and children. Treated or untreated, it can be associated with considerable morbidity and mortality, and its presentation is usually insidious and non-specific. Prompt and careful investigation is important in order to establish the diagnosis so that treatment can be optimised. We address some common questions arising when diagnosing and treating presumed HSE throughout childhood.

Keywords: Evidence Based Medicine; Immunology; Infectious Diseases; Neonatology; Neurology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Encephalitis, Herpes Simplex / diagnosis*
  • Encephalitis, Herpes Simplex / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / pathogenicity*
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human / pathogenicity*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Acyclovir