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Advances in Pediatric Neurovirology


Viral infections of the pediatric central nervous system (CNS) encompass a broad spectrum of both perinatally and postnatally acquired diseases with potentially devastating effects on the developing brain. In children, viral infections have been associated with chronic encephalopathy, encephalitis, demyelinating disease, tumors, and epilepsy. Older diagnostic techniques of biopsy, viral culture, electron microscopy, gel-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and viral titer quantification are being replaced with more rapid, sensitive, and specific real-time and microarray-based PCR technologies. Advances in neuroimaging technologies have provided for earlier recognition of CNS injury without elucidation of specific viral etiology. Although the mainstay therapy of many pediatric neurovirologic diseases, aside from HIV, includes intravenous acyclovir, much work is being done to develop novel antiviral immunotherapies aimed at both treating and preventing pediatric CNS viral disease.

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