Background. Encephalitis continues to result in substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide. Advances in diagnosis and management have been limited, in part, by a lack of consensus on case definitions, standardized diagnostic approaches, and priorities for research.Methods. In March 2012, the International Encephalitis Consortium, a committee begun in 2010 with members worldwide, held a meeting in Atlanta to discuss recent advances in encephalitis and to set priorities for future study.Results. We present a consensus document that proposes a standardized case definition and diagnostic guidelines for evaluation of adults and children with suspected encephalitis. In addition, areas of research priority, including host genetics and selected emerging infections, are discussed.Conclusions. We anticipate that this document, representing a synthesis of our discussions and supported by literature, will serve as a practical aid to clinicians evaluating patients with suspected encephalitis and will identify key areas and approaches to advance our knowledge of encephalitis. © 2013 The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.