International treatment guideline for encephalitis will help children around the world

04 August 2021

Events, Research

A new international treatment guideline for the most common single form of encephalitis in children is set to change clinical practice and impact children worldwide. This form of encephalitis affects 5,000 – 10,000 children globally each year. It has a mortality rate of 5% and morbidity of 50% if untreated. These new guidelines will help standardise treatment for children around the world.

Professor Russell Dale, Clinical Director of Kids Neuroscience Centre, led the study which brought together 25 experts from 5 continents around the world to standardise treatment for the condition.

Paediatric NMDA receptor antibody encephalitis (NMDARE) is one of the most common forms of encephalitis. It is characterised by neurological and psychiatric features alongside positive NMDAR autoantibodies. NMDARE mostly affects children and young adults, in particular young females. It can be very severe in the acute phase, resulting in death in some cases, and relapses in approximately 15% of cases. Prof Dale commented;

We brought together 25 experts from all around the world including countries with limited resources, to generate a truly globally relevant guideline. The recommendations will guide all aspects of care from first treatments, to timing of escalation treatments, and duration of treatment. We hope this will help clinicians around the world treat patients, in order to reduce death and disability.

The international consensus recommendation was created with support from the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance to standardise treatment and provide a practical decision support tool for clinicians confronted with this challenging condition. This is a powerful tool in ensuring treatment is consistent and effective. Last year, Professor Dale led the first consensus guideline for the diagnosis of autoimmune encephalitis in children, which has increased the recognition of this treatable cause of encephalitis.

Read the full paper published in Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation, American Academy of Neurology.

Events, Research