AURORA, Colo. (Aug. 9, 2018) - Kenneth Tyler, MD, the Louise Baum Endowed Chair in Neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, is author of a review article about acute viral encephalitis in the current issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
Review articles are a regular feature in the prestigious medical journal and are written by experts in their fields who offer an overview of the current knowledge about a specific health condition. Such articles discuss a condition's epidemiology, clinical profiles, and diagnostic strategies.
Tyler, who holds appointments in the CU School of Medicine's departments of neurology, medicine, and immunology and microbiology, is a leading researcher and clinician contributing to a better understanding of acute viral encephalitis and improved care for patients infected with the virus. The School of Medicine is home to an internationally recognized Neuro-Infectious Diseases Group, a multidisciplinary collaborative of faculty whose goal is to better understand infectious diseases that affect the nervous system. The group is involved in basic science, clinical, and epidemiologic research projects.
"Viral encephalitis is a major cause of illness and death and imposes a heavy economic burden," Tyler writes in the article, which was published today. "Diagnostic strategies and technologies are being developed to allow identification of an expanding list of pathogens and to differentiate viral encephalitis from its mimics....New therapies to prevent infection and inhibit viral replication are needed."
Each year in the United States, about seven patients are hospitalized for encephalitis per 100,000 population and the cause is unknown in about half of these cases. The estimated median hospitalization charge for a patient with viral encephalitis is $89,600 for West Nile virus encephalitis and $58,000 for HSV [herpes simplex virus] encephalitis. Total annual cost nationally is estimated at $350 million to $540 million, not including the cost of care after discharge, costs for family caregivers, and lost earnings.
Earlier this week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a news release announcing that the first two human cases of West Nile virus in the state in 2018 have been reported in Weld and Delta counties. West Nile virus is most commonly spread to humans by mosquito bites. While most people infected with the virus do not have symptoms, a small percentage (less than 1 percent) can develop neuro-invasive disease, such as encephalitis.
About the University of Colorado School of Medicine
Faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at UCHealth's University of Colorado Hospital, Children's Hospital Colorado, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The school is located on the Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system. To learn more about the medical school's care, education, research and community engagement, visit its web site.