The idea for this book came from Martin Griffiths of Cambridge University Press, who approached me in October 2005. My initial reaction had been that I was too busy to undertake this project. I surprised myself by taking up the challenge. After giving the choice of topics and potential investigators much thought, I contacted the authors whose contributions you see here. Contracts from the Press were circulated in early 2006, and the manuscripts were submitted in the Spring of 2007, except by one very eager team, who completed their paper in October 2006. We have attempted, in this volume, to put together a comprehensive survey of the principal viruses that cause disease in the central nervous system, the mechanisms by which they cause pathology and evade host responses, the host responses to these infections, and the tools available for diagnosis and treatment of the infections. Vaccine strategies, drug development, and the important questions concerning investigators and clinicians today are described. Given the rapid appearance of new agents and accompanying diseases, and the power of the scientific community to design new tools, we expect this field to continue its rapid changes. The need to provide information in a compact and up-to-date format is essential for students, faculty, clinicians, and public health personnel. I could not have written my own chapter without the luxury of time from teaching and committee work, made possible by a yearlong sabbatical leave from New York University.
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