Central nervous system infections caused by viruses can cause meningitis and encephalitis. Central nervous system infections are extremely serious. Meningitis affects the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Encephalitis affects the brain itself. Some of these infections affect primarily the meninges the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord and are called meningitis. Viral meningitis is sometimes called aseptic meningitis. Meningitis can also be caused by bacteria. Viruses that infect the central nervous system brain and spinal cord include herpesviruses herpes simplex virus infections, arboviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and enteroviruses. Many infections are mild, but others are severe and can cause death. The diagnosis of viral central nervous system infections is based on a spinal tap. Antiviral drugs are usually not effective for treatment of central nervous system infections, so children need to receive supportive measures such as fluids and drugs to control fever and pain.

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