Diagnostic Approach to Viral Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Paediatric Age Group: A Study from New Delhi DC25-DC29
Dr. Anita Chakravarti,
Room number 277a Department of Microbiology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi-110002, India.
Introduction: Acute Encephalitis Syndrome has heralded the emergence of multiple virulent pathogens, which may result in severe morbidity and mortality. In India, encephalitis is not notified and there has been a dearth of analysis for trends in encephalitis death rates and causation. A downward trend has been observed in encephalitis deaths, due to ‘known’ causes, which can be largely explained by improvement in diagnostic, treatment, and prevention methods. There is still a very high proportion of encephalitis deaths in developing countries, where the aetiological diagnosis of the pathogen is not established and thus, lies the importance of monitoring encephalitis morbidity and mortality with a view to improve pathogen diagnosis and identify emerging infectious diseases.
Aim: To formulate a diagnostic approach to viral acute encephalitis syndrome in paediatric age group.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study including 50 paediatric patients, clinically diagnosed with acute encephalitis syndrome using WHO criteria was conducted. The CSF of all the patients was evaluated to diagnose the aetiology for viral pathogens. ELISA was used for diagnosing Japanese encephalitis and dengue encephalitis; and multiplex real time PCR was used for detecting HSV-1, HSV-2, Varicella zoster virus, Mumps virus, Enterovirus and Parechovirus.
Results: Confirmed diagnosis was established in 11 (22%) of 50 cases. A confirmed or probable viral agent of encephalitis was found in 7 (14%), bacterial agent was found in 2 (4%), noninfectious aetiology was found in 2 (4%). Fatal outcome was independently associated with patient age.
Conclusion: Despite extensive testing, the aetiologies of more than three fourth of the cases remains elusive. Nevertheless the result from the present study may be useful for future design of early diagnosis and treatment of the disease. New strategies for pathogen identification and continued analysis of clinical features and case histories should help us improve our ability to diagnose, treat and prevent encephalitis.