Aseptic meningitis is the term used to describe the common acute or subacute syndrome which occurs in association with a variety of viral upper respiratory infections or episodes of gastroenteritis. Typical clinical features are fever, mild nuchal rigidity, malaise, and mild clouding of sensorium. Cerebrospinal fluid most commonly bears a mild to moderate lymphocyte-predominant pleocytosis. Frequent causes are enterovirus, adenovirus, the paramyxovirus which causes mumps, and, increasingly, HIV. Rarely, a true encephalitis (more severe alterations of sensorium, seizures, focal neurological deficits) or an encephalomyelitis may occur in association with these usually benign infections. Management in the intensive care setting is rarely indicated, and treatment is symptomatic.
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