herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Cold sore virus link to deadly condition

COLD sores and chicken pox could be linked to many cases of potentially fatal encephalitis, a study suggests.

Researchers investigating the causes of the brain condition found a strong association with the virus responsible for cold sores and sexually transmitted herpes.

The herpes simplex virus accounted for 19pc of infection-related encephalitis.

Other infectious triggers were identified as varicella zoster virus - which causes chicken pox and shingles - and tuberculosis bacteria.

Encephalitis begins as a flu-like illness and can progress to inflammation of the brain.

Patients who survive may be left paralysed or develop movement disorders, muscle weakness, tremors and confusion.

Early and accurate diagnosis is essential if patients are to receive appropriate treatment.

The study, in The Lancet medical journal, involved 203 patients with suspected encephalitis at 24 hospitals.

hnews@herald.ie

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