Twenty five patients with encephalitis were studied prospectively, and their clinical and virological features compared with outcome. Among 22 patients with laboratory confirmation of virus infection, evidence of direct effect on the central nervous system by the virus occurred significantly more often both in those with a monophasic illness compared with those with a biphasic illness, and in those with focal neurological signs localising in the cerebral hemispheres compared with those without such signs. Young age at presentation, low score on the Glasgow coma scale, disruption of oculocephalic responses, and laboratory evidence of virus infection within the central nervous system were significantly associated with poor outcome. Computed tomography results, concentrations of creatine phosphokinase BB isoenzyme in cerebrospinal fluid, and procoagulant activity in cerebrospinal fluid were not predictive of outcome.
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