Viral meningitis and encephalitis: Traditional and emerging viral agents

José R. Romero, Jason G. Newland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


In the United States, the annual number of central nervous system (CNS) infections that occur as a result of viral agents far exceeds that of infections caused by bacteria, yeast, molds, and protozoa combined. The recent incursion of West Nile virus (WNV) into North America has led to a dramatic change in the incidence and epidemiology of summer-associated viral CNS disease. As a result of increased testing for WNV, lesser known viral causes of CNS infection have been identified. Even the epidemiology of such traditional viral neuropathogens as rabies has changed in recent years. This review provides an overview of viruses traditionally associated with meningitis and encephalitis (enteroviruses, La Crosse virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus, eastern and western equine viruses, varicella-zoster virus), as well as several of the less common (Powassan virus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, Colorado tick fever virus, rabies virus, influenza viruses, etc.) and emerging (West Nile virus) viral pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-82
Number of pages11
JournalSeminars in Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2003


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