We describe a patient with serologically proven Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE), whose presentation was clinically and radiologically characteristic of Herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE). The reports of MRI abnormalities in MVE, and the closely related Japanese Encephalitis and West Nile virusii are mostly of bilateral thalamic or grey matter involvement. The MRI scan findings in this case instead showed the typical temporal lobe changes of HSE. Our case report highlights that MVE can mimic HSE, both clinically and radiologically. Therefore it is important to collect an accurate and detailed travel history from patients where there is a risk of exposure to MVE virus. If suspected, antibody testing of serum and CSF, and CSF for MVE-RNA if available, should be undertaken. This case also highlights the potential under-diagnosis of Murray Valley encephalitis. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.