Encephalitis is defined as inflammation of the brain tissue. Generally, the condition is typically brought about by viral infections. In rare instances, it can be caused by bacteria or even fungi.

What are the types?

  • Primary – occurs if a virus directly infects the spinal cord and brain
  • Secondary – occurs if an infection originated in a different part of the body and moves to the brain

It is important to note that encephalitis is an uncommon but serious condition that can be dangerous. Nevertheless, a doctor must be seen right away if any signs are present.

What are the indications?

Overall, the signs of encephalitis can vary from minor to severe.

The mild symptoms include the following:


A doctor must be seen right away if any signs are present.

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Stiff neck

Generally, the severe symptoms include:

  • Fever up to 103 degrees F or higher
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Sluggish movements
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Irritability
  • Light sensitivity
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma

Nevertheless, among infants and young children, they have different signs that you should be aware of. A doctor must be seen right away if a child has any of the following:

  • Continuous crying
  • Vomiting
  • Bulging fontanel (soft site in the scalp)
  • Appetite loss
  • Furthermore, there is stiffness or rigidity of the body

What are the causes?

Generally, various viruses can trigger encephalitis.

Common viruses

Generally, the common virus responsible for the condition is herpes simples.

In addition, other common viruses that can trigger the condition include:

  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Mumps
  • HIV
  • Cytomegalovirus

Childhood viruses

Similarly, some of the childhood viruses that can cause encephalitis include:

  • Measles
  • Rubella
  • Chickenpox


Furthermore, these viruses are carried by insects. In addition, some of these viruses include:

  • West Nile virus
  • California encephalitis
  • Lastly, Colorado encephalitis

Management of encephalitis

If due to the herpes virus, take antiviral medications. Nevertheless, these drugs are not effective in managing the other forms.

The treatment aims on alleviating the symptoms such as:

  • At first, provide pain medications
  • Adequate rest
  • Corticosteroids
  • Lukewarm sponge baths
  • Sedatives
  • Anticonvulsants
  • In addition, administer intravenous fluids in some cases
  • Lastly, the doctor suggests mechanical ventilation

Consequently, hospitalization is necessary during treatment, especially if brain swelling and seizures are present.





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