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Etiology, clinical presentation and outcome of severe viral acute childhood encephalitis (ECOVE study)
INTRODUCTION. Viral encephalitis are rare and potentially serious conditions with differe nt etiologist, and not always identifiable. Our aim is to describe the etiological, clinical presentation and neurological outcome of viral encephalitis admitted in Paediatrics Intensive Care Units (PICUs) in Spain.
PATIENTS AND METHODS. Observational prospective multicenter study. Children with viral encephalitis admitted to 14 PICUs, for a period of 3 years (2010-2013) were included. Polymerase chain reaction for the etiological diagnosis and neurotropic virus serology in blood and cerebrospinal fluid were used. Personal history, clinical presentation, evolution and neurological status at discharge were recorded.
RESULTS. 80 patients were included with a mean age of 5 years, 70% male. The most relevant clinical symptoms were decreased consciousness (86%), fever (82.4%), seizures (67%), vomiting (42%), headache (27%), agitation (25%) and disorientation (23%). The etiologic diagnosis was established in 35%, being more frequent herpes simplex virus and enterovirus. The outcome was discharge without sequelae in 55 patients (69%), mild to moderate sequelae in 19 (23.5%) and severe in 6 (7.5%). Two patients died.
CONCLUSIONS. In the Spanish PICU etiological diagnosis was established only in a third of cases of children with suspected acute viral encephalitis. Despite the clinical severity we observed a low mortality and morbidity rate. At discharge from the PICU, most children had no neurological sequelae or were mild.
ClinicEtiologyOutcomePediatric Intensive Care UnitViral encephalitis