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Herpes simplex and herpes simplex encephalitis

Herpes simplex viral encephalitis is a medical term for the infection of the central nervous system, which is caused by the herpes simplex virus. Herpes simplex is a disease that usually only causes cold or cancer sores. Herpes simplex encephalitis is much more serious because it can cause the internal degeneration of the nervous system.

The herpes simplex virus can be found everywhere around us. Once it enters the body it usually resides in the nerves. It can activate and cause certain disorders, but also it can stay inactive. However, it can be easily spread since it can be passed from person to person through the oral contact. In the majority of cases, the virus affects the mouth region and the face, but it can also affect the genital area. The herpes simplex virus may also lead to the occurrence of herpetic whitlow, gladiatorum, ocular herpes and cerebral herpes infections, as well as Bell's palsy, Mollaret's meningitis and neonatal herpes.

Herpes simplex encephalitis is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 and usually affects the adolescents under 18 and the adults above 50 years of age. It is a very serious disease since it tends to pass along the nerve axon to the brain. The trigeminal cranial nerve ganglion is where it stays inactive for a while and then, when triggered by various reasons, it spreads to the temporal lobes of the brain.

Symptoms of herpes simplex encephalitis

The end result of this condition is general and focal cerebral dysfunction. However, the most common symptoms of this central nervous system disease are fever, headache, confusion, memory loss and seizure, as well as vomiting and muscle weakness. Furthermore, people with herpes simplex encephalitis may experience dysphasia, papilledema, anorexia and visual field loss, as well as the swelling of the temporal lobe. Cranial nerve deficits and high levels of the white blood cells may also appear as the symptoms of this disease.

Treatment of herpes simplex encephalitis

As mentioned earlier, herpes simplex encephalitis is a serious condition since it causes the inflammation of the brain and it should be treated promptly. The symptoms of this disease should be restricted in order to avoid progressive deterioration of the central nervous system. The intracranial pressure and seizures should be monitored regularly. The patient should always have elevated head and steroids or mannitol should be given to him/her. If the seizures appear, they are treated with anticonvulsant therapy and benzodiazepines. Acyclovir and vidarabine can also be used in treating herpes simplex encephalitis.

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