At the turn of the 20th century, infections were the leading cause of death.1 Enter the improvements in sanitation and nutrition and the discovery of antibiotics leading to a dramatic increase in the average life span.2 These improvements were probably the main reasons that led US Surgeon General William H. Stewart to inform the Congress in 1969 that it was time to “close the book on infectious diseases.”3 He was indubitably wrong, and infections continue to top the list of worldwide cause of morbidity and mortality.1,4 Infections remain also a key socioeconomic burden in the realm of neurology.5 What is more, neuroinfections are a major challenge to the clinician. In many instances, an early, that is not to say an immediate, diagnosis is extremely rewarding and may lead to proper therapy that will reduce or eliminate residual neurological invalidity. For either the specialist in neuroinfections who is asked to consult on an enigmatic case or the resident in the emergency department who is faced with a case of acute disorder, the possibility that the patient has a neurological infection is always a challenge.
Steiner I. Review of Neuroinfections. JAMA Neurol. 2014;71(5):656. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.166