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November 1970

Herpesvirus hominis Encephalitis: Neurological Manifestations and Use of Idoxuridine

Author Affiliations

From the Harper and Detroit General (Receiving) Hospitals, the departments of neurology (Dr. Bauer) and Medicine (Drs. Lerner and Nolan), Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, and the Methodist Hospital and Department of Neurology (Drs. Meyer and Rivera-Olmos), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.

Arch Neurol. 1970;23(5):438-450. doi:10.1001/archneur.1970.00480290058007

BECAUSE of the high mortality of Herpesvirus hominis encephalitis and recent data suggesting that treatment should be considered, the real incidence of this disease is now important. This incidence remains unknown. However, on the basis of our experience, herpesvirus encephalitis is relatively common.1,2

Nolan and co-workers1 concluded that patients with H hominis encephalitis who are in coma (unresponsive to all external stimuli) or are having convulsions have a poor prognosis. Conversely, patients who are not in coma and do not have convulsions may survive intact. Interest in the possibility of therapy has been stimulated by five recent reports of individual patients with herpesvirus encephalitis who received idoxuridine.3-7 Apparently, about 60% of untreated and variably selected patients die.8-13 Patients who recover may sustain severe, permanent, neurological deficits which include intellectual deterioration, dystonia, and motor weakness.

Characteristics have been reported of the general medical illnesses of

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