The role of infectious and inflammatory causes of stroke is much more significant in children than in adults. Conversely, that of atherosclerotic disease, ischaemic heart disease and hypertensive haemorrhages has a lesser prominence in children. Bacterial meningitis caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, or Neiserria meningitidis has been known to cause stroke in children. The mechanism appears to be the spread of meningeal inflammation to involve the walls of intracranial vessels, resulting in arterial thrombosis with ischaemia or rupture with haemorrhage. Other infections caused by atypical bacterial agents such as Mycoplasma tuberculosis and viral agents such as varicella-zoster virus have also been well documented as causes of stroke. Non-infectious, inflammatory causes of stroke, such as collagen vascular disease and primary angiitis of the central nervous system, have been reported in children as well as adults. In this review, we will focus on recent advances in the field of childhood stroke caused by infectious and inflammatory disorders.
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