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Unintentional drowning is believed to be responsible for more than half a million deaths a year worldwide. A review in the New England Journal of Medicine (2012;366:2102–10) explores current concepts relating to the management of patients with drowning, including the pathophysiology, prehospital and hospital care. The bottom line remains the same as it always has been, namely that prevention is the key to reducing deaths.
Encephalitis is an important, but relatively uncommon clinical problem, so that few clinicians gain much experience of treating it. That is the argument put forward in an editorial in the British Medical Journal (2012;344:e3489) in support of some new guidelines. Encephalitis is acknowledged to be the result of a spectrum of both infectious and non-infectious disorders, but the key focus is on early treatment for viral encephalitis. The risk of death from herpes simplex virus encephalitis can be reduced if aciclovir is given early after presentation. Two articles in the same issue of the journal provide further personal insight into herpes simplex encephalitis (BMJ 2012; …