Back to Journals » Clinical Epidemiology » Volume 12

Long-Term Survival, Morbidity, Social Functioning and Risk of Disability in Patients with a Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 or Type 2 Central Nervous System Infection, Denmark, 2000–2016

Authors Hansen AE, Vestergaard HT, Dessau RB, Bodilsen J, Andersen NS, Omland LH, Christiansen CB, Ellermann-Eriksen S, Nielsen L, Benfield T, Sørensen HT, Andersen CØ, Lebech AM, Obel N

Received 3 April 2020

Accepted for publication 15 June 2020

Published 16 July 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 745—755


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Vera Ehrenstein

Ann-Brit E Hansen,1– 3 Hanne T Vestergaard,4 Ram B Dessau,5 Jacob Bodilsen,6 Nanna S Andersen,7 Lars H Omland,1 Claus B Christiansen,8 Svend Ellermann-Eriksen,9 Lene Nielsen,10 Thomas Benfield,2,3 Henrik T Sørensen,11 Christian Ø Andersen,12 Anne-Mette Lebech,1,3 Niels Obel1,3

1Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark; 2Department of Infectious Diseases, Amager Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Hvidovre, Denmark; 3Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; 4Department of Virus & Microbiological Special Diagnostics, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark; 5Department of Clinical Microbiology, Slagelse Hospital, Slagelse, Denmark; 6Departments of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark; 7Department of Clinical Microbiology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark; 8Department of Clinical Microbiology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark; 9Department of Clinical Microbiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; 10Department of Clinical Microbiology, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Herlev, Denmark; 11Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; 12Department of Clinical Microbiology, Amager Hvidovre University Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Hvidovre, Denmark

Correspondence: Ann-Brit E Hansen
Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, Copenhagen Ø DK-2100, Denmark
Tel +45 30299306

Background: The long-term prognosis following herpes simplex virus (HSV) central nervous system (CNS) infection is still debated.
Patients and Methods: We examined outcomes in all Danish residents who, during 2000– 2016, tested PCR positive for HSV-1 (n=208) or HSV-2 (n=283) in the cerebrospinal fluid, compared to comparison cohorts from the general population (n=2080 and n=2830).
Results: One-year mortality was increased among HSV-1 patients (difference 19.3%; 95% CI: 13.6% to 25.0%) and HSV-2 patients (difference 5.3%; 95% CI: 2.5% to 8.1%), but thereafter mortality was not increased. After exclusion of persons diagnosed with cancer prior to study inclusion, one-year mortality difference for HSV-2 patients was 1.7% (− 0.1% to 3.5%). After five years, HSV-1 patients had lower employment (difference − 19.8%; 95% CI: − 34.7% to − 4.8%) and higher disability pension rates (difference 22.2%; 95% CI: 8.4% to 36.0%) than the comparison cohort, but similar number of inpatient days, outpatient visits, and sick leave. HSV-2 patients had employment and disability pension rates comparable to the comparison cohort, but more inpatient days (difference 1.5/year; 95% CI: − 0.2 to 3.2), outpatient visits (difference 1.3/year; 95% CI: 0.3 to 3.2), and sick leave days (difference 9.1/year; 95% CI: 7.9 to 10.4).
Conclusion: HSV-1 and HSV-2 CNS infections differ substantially with respect to prognosis. HSV-1 CNS infection is followed by increased short-term mortality and long-term risk of disability. HSV-2 CNS infection has no substantial impact on mortality or working capability but is associated with increased morbidity.

Keywords: herpes simplex virus encephalitis, herpes simplex virus meningitis, prognosis, outcome, cohort study

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]