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Childhood encephalitis: what's new?

Journal of Pediatrics & Neonatal Care
Alexsandra Ferreira Da Costa Coelho,1 José Ferreira Chaves,2 Mariana De Sousa Gomes Da Costa,2 Michelly Patrícia Dos Passos Lima Santos2

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Encephalitis is a severe form of a neurological disease caused by an inflammation of the brain parenchyma associated with evidences of neurologic disfunction, which courses with non-specific CNS symptoms. The frequency of this condition is higher in children, presenting in this age group a great potential of severity, in addition to higher risks of morbidity and mortality the younger the affected child. The etiology can be infectious or autoimmune; in about half of the cases of acute encephalitis during childhood, however, a definitive cause will not be found.
Objective:To accomplish an epidemiology, diagnostic methods and treatment review about childhood encephalitis.
Methods:Studies were made in June to October 2017, and was constituted by the search of the key-words “encephalitis”, “childhood”, “autoimmune encephalitis”, “viral encephalitis”, “meningoencephalitis”, “etiology” and “epidemiology” from articles published in English and Portuguese in the years of 2004 until 2017, thus being selected 23articles, accordingly to the relevance of the information presented.
Theory: Encephalitis is a potentially lethal neurologic syndrome, that affects children around the world, and can be caused by infectious processes, autoimmune conditions, or can still be from unidentified etiology in most of the cases. The diagnoses can be difficult for the rapid progression, the nonspecific symptoms and vast possibilities of etiologic agents. It is a condition that presents itself with elevated potential of death and permanent sequelae, mainly in younger children.
Conclusion:Encephalitis is a serious disease, which can bring grand repercussions in children’s health, such as development retardation, behavioral abnormalities and direct neurologic damage. Considering this issues, it is indispensable the correct diagnostic e quick therapeutic approach from the child suspected to be in this condition.


encephalitis, childhood, autoimmune encephalitis, viral encephalitis, meningoencephalitis, japanese, encephalitis, virus etiology and epidemiology, varicella, zoster