While enteroviruses have been the most commonly identified cause of aseptic meningitis in the United States, the role of the emerging, neurotropic West Nile virus (WNV) is not clear. In summer 2001, an aseptic meningitis epidemic occurring in an area of a WNV epizootic in Baltimore, Maryland, was investigated to determine the relative contributions of WNV and enteroviruses. A total of 113 aseptic meningitis cases with onsets from June 1 to September 30, 2001, were identified at six hospitals. WNV immunoglobulin M tests were negative for 69 patients with available specimens; however, 43 (61%) of 70 patients tested enterovirus-positive by viral culture or polymerase chain reaction. Most (76%) of the serotyped enteroviruses were echoviruses 13 and 18. Enteroviruses, including previously rarely detected echoviruses, likely caused most aseptic meningitis cases in this epidemic. No WNV meningitis cases were identified. Even in areas of WNV epizootics, enteroviruses continue to be important causative agents of aseptic meningitis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases