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Herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) is a medical emergency associated with high mortality and morbidity. Definitive diagnosis is established by history, clinical examination, neuroimaging studies, supportive electroencephalogram (EEG) findings, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis.
A 7-year-old Malay girl with known case of right hemiplegia secondary to herpes encephalitis presented to the neuropediatric ward, in General Hospital with refractory seizure. She had a moderate learning disability and diagnosed as right hemiparesis secondary to herpes encephalitis complicated with epilepsy. She was planned for the positron emission tomography (PET) scan and to undergo operation if PET scan was feasible (Hemispherectomy). However, the patient refused for operation.
Prompt clinical recognition is important in the HSE to prevent progressive brain tissue damage, haemorrhagic changes, and worsening of the encephalitis. Diagnosis is usually confirmed through an extensive evaluation, including a thorough clinical examination with attention to findings on mental status changes, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis, electroencephalogram (EEG) testing and findings on neuroimaging.
Once HSE is suspected, high-dose acyclovir should be started immediately before lumbar puncture (LP), and only stopped once a definitive alternate diagnosis has been established.
This case is reported because the patient has generalized epilepsy with right hemiparesis secondary to herpes encephalitis. Herpes encephalitis with right hemiparesis cases are quite rare.
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