Journal Article

In Search of Encephalitis Etiologies: Diagnostic Challenges in the California Encephalitis Project, 1998—2000

Carol A. Glaser, Sabrina Gilliam, David Schnurr, Bagher Forghani, Somayeh Honarmand, Nino Khetsuriani, Marc Fischer, Cynthia K. Cossen and Larry J. Anderson

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 36, issue 6, pages 731-742
Published in print March 2003 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online March 2003 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/367841
In Search of Encephalitis Etiologies: Diagnostic Challenges in the California Encephalitis Project, 1998—2000

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The California Encephalitis Project was initiated in June 1998 to identify the causes and characterize the clinical and epidemiologic features of encephalitis in California. Testing for ∼13 agents, including herpesviruses, enteroviruses, arboviruses, Bartonella species, Chlamydia species, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae, was performed at the Viral and Rickettsial Disease Laboratory (Richmond, California). Epidemiologic and clinical information collected for each case guided further testing. From June 1998 through December 2000, 334 patients who met our case definition of encephalitis were enrolled. A confirmed or probable viral agent of encephalitis was found in 31 cases (9%), a bacterial agent was found in 9 cases (3%), and a parasitic agent was found in 2 cases (1%). A possible etiology was identified in 41 cases (12%). A noninfectious etiology was identified in 32 cases (10%), and a nonencephalitis infection was identified in 11 (3%). Despite extensive testing and evaluation, the etiology of 208 cases (62%) remained unexplained.

Journal Article.  4465 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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