Encephalitis or inflammation of the brain may be due to infection or immune mediated disease, with children amongst those most severely affected.
Australia has unique vector-borne and zoonotic aetiologies of infectious encephalitis including Murray Valley encephalitis virus, Australian Bat Lyssavirus and henipaviruses such as Hendra virus. Up to 70% of all cases of encephalitis do not have a cause identified with standard diagnostic testing.
Prof. Cheryl Jones and Prof. Robert Booy, have established a major national collaboration the Australian Childhood Encephalitis (ACE) study to undertake active prospective surveillance of severe hospitalised encephalitis in Australian children to define the burden of disease and epidemiology. The ACE study is linked to the Australian paediatric surveillance network, Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS).