Herpes virus meningitis in adults
Dr Bahram Ebrahimi, Dr David McKee, Dr Ed Wilkins, Dr Ian Hart, Dr Nicholas Beeching, Dr Paul Klapper, Prof Mike Levin, Prof Tom Solomon
- Start Date:
01 April 2011
Liverpool University, Liverpool, UK
Viral meningitis is one of the most common neurological infections in UK adults. The α-herpes viruses [herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1, HSV-2 and zoster virus (VZV)] are together one of the most important causes, but other viruses are also important, and in many patients the aetiology is not determined. Although some physicians consider viral meningitis “self limiting”, recent neuropsychological studies show patients may have memory problems. In addition herpes meningitis can become recurrent (Mollaret’s meningitis), especially if due to HSV-2. Some physicians therefore use the antiviral drug aciclovir (or its pro-drug valaciclovir) to treat herpes meningitis (because it is effective in herpes encephalitis); others say it is not necessary. This study will examine the epidemiology and natural history of viral meningitis, improving the diagnosis and generating data needed to design a future treatment trial.
Professor Tom Solomon and his team say:
“We will set up a prospective clinical and epidemiological study of all adults with suspected viral meningitis across hospitals in the NHS Northwest Region. We will standardise the management, and address the following questions:
- What is the incidence of viral meningitis in adults and how much is due to herpes viruses?
- Can newer genomic and proteomic approaches be used to improve the diagnosis?
- What are the clinical and laboratory features, and natural history in terms of symptom resolution, neurological complications, and recurrences?
- What are the costs to the NHS and to the patients, and what is the impact on the patient’s quality of life?”
You can find out more about the study on the research group’s website Brain Infections UK
- a group of studies looking at various types of brain infections, including meningitis. MRF is funding the Meningitis North West