Long-term outcome of acute encephalitis of unknown aetiology in adults

Schmidt, Antje; Bühler, Robert; Mühlemann, Kathrin; Hess, Christian W; Täuber, Martin G (2011). Long-term outcome of acute encephalitis of unknown aetiology in adults. Clinical microbiology and infection, 17(4), pp. 621-6. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2010.03276.x

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Encephalitis is caused by a variety of conditions, including infections of the brain by a wide range of pathogens. A substantial number of cases of encephalitis defy all attempts at identifying a specific cause. Little is known about the long-term prognosis in patients with encephalitis of unknown aetiology, which complicates their management during the acute illness. To learn more about the prognosis of patients with encephalitis of unknown aetiology, patients in whom no aetiology could be identified were examined in a large, single-centre encephalitis cohort. In addition to analysing the clinical data of the acute illness, surviving patients were assessed by telephone interview a minimum of 2 years after the acute illness by applying a standardized test battery. Of the patients with encephalitis who qualified for inclusion (n = 203), 39 patients (19.2%) had encephalitis of unknown aetiology. The case fatality in these patients was 12.8%. Among the survivors, 53% suffered from various neurological sequelae, most often attention and sensory deficits. Among the features at presentation that were associated with adverse outcome were older age, increased C-reactive protein, coma and a high percentage of polymorphonuclear cells in the cerebrospinal fluid. In conclusion, the outcome in an unselected cohort of patients with encephalitis of unknown aetiology was marked by substantial case fatality and by long-term neurological deficits in approximately one-half of the surviving patients. Certain features on admission predicted an unfavourable outcome.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Hess, Christian Walter




Blackwell Publishing




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:08

Last Modified:

17 Mar 2015 19:08

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Web of Science ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/367 (FactScience: 197866)

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