Herpes Simplex Encephalitis: Detection, Management, and Outcomes

Cureus. 2022 Nov 28;14(11):e31962. doi: 10.7759/cureus.31962. eCollection 2022 Nov.


The pathophysiology of herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) is incompletely understood and proposed to be secondary to the retrograde transport of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) via the trigeminal and/or olfactory nerves to the central nervous system (CNS). In this case report, we present a 68-year-old female who presents to our emergency department after a fall. Upon initial admission, her neurological examination was benign, and a computer tomography (CT) scan of her brain showed a subdural hematoma for which she was treated conservatively. Day 4 of her hospitalization marked a rapid decline in her course of illness, beginning with confusion and hallucinations, progressing to subclinical seizures, and culminating in irreversible brain damage and palliative extubation on day 16 of hospitalization. This case report discusses our insight into the challenges of early diagnosis and treatment of herpes encephalitis and their impact on improving patient outcomes.

Keywords: auto immune encephalitis; herpes encephalitis; herpes simplex virus infection; herpes virus encephalitis; kluver-bucy syndrome; temporal lobe encephalitis; temporal lobe seizure.

Publication types

  • Case Reports