Encephalitis is a rare infectious disease of the brain which involves the inflammation (swelling) and irritation of the brain. It is a serious condition which causes neuropsychological dysfunction. Encephalitis can be either primary (direct infection of the brain) or secondary (an infection which starts elsewhere and spreads to the brain).
According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), encephalitis occurs in 0.5 in 10,00,000 individuals and is commonly observed in children.
The initial encephalitis symptoms are mild, but they can become severe and serious within hours or days of infection
Initial symptoms of encephalitis (flu-like)
Later symptoms of encephalitis (severe and serious)
Other symptoms of encephalitis include:
You are at an increased risk for encephalitis based on
As is it mostly a viral infection, antiviral agents are used in the encephalitis treatment of acute stages. Along with these medications, the patients with viral infections are also administered IV fluids and are monitored regularly for the extent of swelling.
Additionally, the below measures are taken as a part of treatment
Complications are more likely in older individuals with encephalitis and those who do not receive treatment right away after the diagnosis. The below complications can result from untreated encephalitis
Your doctor initially checks your signs and symptoms based on which one or more of the following tests are performed to test for encephalitis.
|Test type||Purpose of the test|
|Blood tests||To detect the presence of infection in the blood|
|Lumbar puncture||To test the signs of infection in the spinal fluid|
|Imaging studies (CT, MRI)||Detect changes in the brain structure To exclude other conditions such as stroke or tumor with similar symptoms|
|Electroencephalograph (EEG)||To record activity of the brain|
|Biopsy||To test for infection in the collected sample of brain tissue It is rarely performed.|
Below are the suggestions to prevent encephalitis:
The most significant cause of encephalitis is the viral infection which causes viral encephalitis or viral meningoencephalitis. Several viruses can cause encephalitis such as adenovirus, herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, echovirus, coxsackievirus, etc. The most common virus is the herpes simplex virus which causes severe encephalitis in all the age groups.
The exposure can occur through:
The viruses are specifically located in particular areas and are predominantly present during certain seasons.
As the virus enters the brain, it causes inflammation of the brain tissue. This destroys the nerve cells thereby causing bleeding in the brain and its damage.
Other causes of encephalitis are: