DOI: 10.1097/mcc.0000000000001087 ISSN:

Severe meningoencephalitis: epidemiology and outcomes

Michael Thy, Etienne de Montmollin, Lila Bouadma, Jean-François Timsit, Romain Sonneville
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

Purpose of review

This article aims to provide an updated review on the epidemiology and outcomes of severe meningoencephalitis.

Recent findings

Meningoencephalitis is a critical medical condition characterized by inflammation in both the meninges and brain parenchyma. Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections are common causes, although noninfectious factors, such as autoimmune causes, can also contribute. In patients requiring intensive care, meningoencephalitis is associated with a severe prognosis, including mortality rates ranging from 11 to 25% and functional disability in 15–25% of survivors. Recent multicenter studies have identified several parameters linked to poor outcomes, including older age, immunocompromised status, focal neurologic signs, abnormal brain imaging, and delayed administration of antimicrobials. The use of new multiplex PCR techniques for diagnosis has generated debate based on recent data. Investigation is still needed to determine the effectiveness of adjunctive therapies, including seizure prophylaxis, and adjunctive steroids for nonbacterial causes.


Recent multicenter studies have enhanced our understanding of the current epidemiology and outcomes of severe meningoencephalitis in adult patients.

More from our Archive