ENCEPHALITIS: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS & TREATMENT
Dr Reginald Varadarajulu Vsm
Hbr layout, Bengaluru Mar 13, 2018
Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain tissue caused by a viral infection.
The exact cause behind encephalitis is not known but the most common one includes a viral infection.
There are two main types of encephalitis:
- Primary encephalitis: A condition when a virus directly infects the brain.
- Secondary encephalitis: A condition that results from a faulty immune system reaction to an infection somewhere else in the body.
The common viruses that can cause encephalitis include:
- Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
- Other Herpes Viruses
- Mosquito borne viruses
- Tick borne viruses
- Childhood infections, such as Measles
Anyone can have encephalitis but some factors may put you at a greater risk, such as:
- Age: Young children and older adults are at a greater risk.
- Weakened Immune System
- Geographical regions
- Season of the year
The signs and symptoms of viral encephalitis are similar to that of a flu. Some common symptoms include:
- Muscles and joints ache
- Fatigue and weakness
- Loss of sensation or paralysis
- Loss of consciousness
- Problems with speech and hearing
- Sensitivity to light
Based on your symptoms, your doctor will conduct the following tests:
- Brain imaging with CT scan or MRI
- Electroencephalograph (EEG)
- Spinal tap or lumbar puncture
- Blood tests
- Brain biopsy
Herpes encephalitis can be treated with anti-viral medications but they won’t be efficient in treating other forms of encephalitis. Other treatments may include:
- Pain killers
- Lukewarm sponge baths
- Intravenous Fluids
- Anti-seizure medications
- Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Corticosteroids
- Breathing assistance
- Physical, occupational, speech and psychotherapy