Epilepsy following herpes simplex encephalitis – A case series

Nir Hersh, Haim Ben Zvi, Lilach Goldstein, Israel Steiner, Felix Benninger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) is associated with severe mortality and morbidity. Its incidence is estimated at 1:250 000, and the typical symptomatology of acute disease including headaches, mental state disturbances, confusion, sleepiness, and seizures. The chronic phase of the disease is occasionally characterized by epilepsy and neurological deficits. Study rationale: The present retrospective single-center study aims to identify risk factors for predicting the development of epilepsy (epileptogenesis) following HSE. Methods: Medical records were screened for patients older than 18 years, hospitalized between January 2005 and September 2019 with a diagnosis of “encephalitis” and “herpes simplex virus, HSV” infection. HSE diagnosis was based on an analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid with positive HSV testing results. Results: Twenty-three patients fit our inclusion criteria: fever and behavioral changes, followed by seizures, were reported in 58.3 % of patients. On follow-up (59.7 ± 38.8 months), eight patients (34.8 %) developed epilepsy. Pathological imaging and EEG were correlated with acute symptomatic seizures (ASS). ASS was associated with an 8-fold risk increase to develop post-encephalitis epilepsy (PE). PE was associated with younger age but not with CSF results, imaging, or EEG. Conclusion: Our retrospective single-center study on PE, following HSE, shows that younger age and ASS were associated with PE. Brain imaging, CSF analysis, and EEG were not associated with the development of epilepsy following HSE.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107137
JournalEpilepsy Research
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Encephalitis
  • Epilepsy
  • HSV1
  • Herpes


Dive into the research topics of 'Epilepsy following herpes simplex encephalitis – A case series'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this