Viral infection causes neuronal and glial damage with associated inflammation and oedema. Viral encephalitis is a worldwide disorder with the highest incidence in the tropics. Common causal viruses:
- Varicella zoster
Rare forms in specific areas:
Western equine - (vector) mosquito - USA
- (vector) mosquito - Africa/India
- (vector) tick - eastern Europe
Encephalitis following childhood infections - measles, varicella, rubella - is presumed to be postinfectious and not due to direct viral invasion, though the measles virus has occasionally been isolated from the brain.
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